OAKLAND — Town officials vowed to keep costs down when they planned a $1.05 million police station, and they lived up to their word Friday.

Police Chief Mike Tracy and Sgt. Jerry Haynes dropped what they were doing, donned hard hats and went to work, helping to lay a drainpipe around the perimeter of the foundation of the future station on Fairfield Street.

“The crew needed the help, so Jerry and I came in today and grabbed a shovel,” Tracy said. “Whatever we can do to help.”

The century-old former farmhouse that the town had used as a police station for decades was torn down last month by the town’s public works employees, and the town is doing all the site work, which started two weeks ago. The contractor is J.F. Scott Construction, of Winthrop.

“This is such a big thing for the town of Oakland,” Town Manager Gary Bowman said Friday. “Our municipal employees are helping out as much as they can to keep the costs of the project down. Right now we’re $100,000 under budget, before we build anything.”

Bowman was an officer in the department for 15 years before he became town manager a year and a half ago, so he was well acquainted with the old building, which leaked, lacked appropriate fire safety standards and was a risk not only to police but also to the public and people being detained.

Bowman praised Tracy and Haynes for pitching in Friday.

“It’s not very often you find a police chief who’s willing to put a hard hat on and get out there with a shovel and help the crew,” he said. “That’s, in my mind, the definition of leadership.”

Tracy said he was glad to help.

“We were in the building for 25 years, and it’s just a long time for an old farmhouse to be a police department,” he said.

The new 4,700-square-foot station, which is being built in the same spot as the old one, will house not only the department but also a 640-square-foot Town Council chamber to double as a police training room and public event room. The building will include a sally port where officers with detained people in their cruisers can drive into a secure space before entering the building.

Town voters approved the plan for the new station in November.

The station will include space for patrol officers, a booking area for prisoners to be processed, three interview rooms, lockers and other offices — all things the old one didn’t have.

While the station is being built, police are housed in a temporary space in the basement of the Town Office, which is behind the Fairfield Street construction site. Tracy’s office temporarily is on the third floor of the Town Office, and council meetings are held in the nearby fire station. Police temporarily are parking at the rear of the Town Office, and Town Office patrons park in a temporary lot behind the fire station. The new police parking lot will be off Kennedy Memorial Drive.

Police are taking people being detained to other area departments to be booked and processed.

After the police station is complete, the code enforcement and assessor’s offices will move from their spots in the Town Office to the basement. The move will allow the space to be handicapped-accessible, Bowman said.

On Monday, workers will start backfilling the foundation. The floor will be poured after that.

“Then the building’s going to sprout up like green grass,” Bowman said. “It’s supposed to be done by the middle of August.”

The town, about 28 square miles and with a population of 6,500, has 75 full- and part-time employees. The Police Department has about 20 employees, 10 of whom are full-time officers.

“We have a good Police Department,” Bowman said. “Oakland’s a nice little town, and they really keep their thumb on top of things.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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