OAKLAND — A century-old farmhouse next to the Town Office is coming down this week, after having served more than two decades as the Oakland police station.

Town Manager Gary Bowman said Tuesday that the town has been taking the old building on Fairfield Street apart bit by bit, but it should be completely down by the beginning of next week.

The town is using public works employees for the demolition job to save money. Workers have been removing anything in the building of value or that can be reused, such as windows and copper piping, Bowman said. The Fire Department used the gutted building for training that included cutting out sections of the roof, he said.

“We are trying to get every penny of value out of that building that we can,” Bowman said.

Last November, voters approved a plan to demolish the old building and build a new station in its place at a cost of $1.05 million.

The farmhouse was converted into a police station, but it never fully met the department’s needs; and as the building aged, its condition got worse.

Police and town officials complained that the building isn’t safe, had leaks and mold, lacked appropriate fire safety measures and posed safety risks to officers, crime perpetrators, victims and the public.

The new building will include offices, locker rooms, interview rooms, a secure area for people police arrest and a two-vehicle sally port. A large training room will double as a space for Town Council meetings and other public events.

While the new station is being built, the police force is working out of temporary offices in the former Town Council chambers in the Town Office basement. The council is holding its biweekly meetings in the fire station next door.

The basement space is tight, but it has enough room for the department’s radio dispatcher and a captain and desk space for a patrol officer when that person isn’t in a vehicle, Bowman said. Chief Mike Tracy is occupying a vacant office on the third floor of the Town Office.

“It is working out well. It is surprising how comfortable they are down there,” Bowman said.

The temporary police station lacks only a place to book people arrested by the department. Officers take such people to nearby departments, such as those in Fairfield, Waterville and Winslow, for processing, according to Bowman.

After the building comes down, the next step will be to prepare the construction site by tearing out and filling the old foundation, then grading the area.

The town hopes to move quickly into construction and finish the job by the end of the summer. So far, it looks as though the project might come in under budget, Bowman said.

“The sooner we can get it done, the more money we will save the taxpayer,” he said.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire


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