OAKLAND — The Police Department will move into its new station in September, a change that comes 25 years after police settled into a temporary station by converting a century-old converted farmhouse that raised multiple concerns for officers.

The building is expected to be complete within the next two weeks and the department will start moving in after that, according to Town Manager Gary Bowman.

Twice before the town proposed a multi-agency building that would house the Town Office, the Fire Department and the police station, but the multimillion-dollar price tags prompted residents to reject the projects.

Bowman again formed a committee to look at the town’s problem of aging buildings. It decided that the police station posed the greatest risk to the town and proposed a $1.05 million plan to build a station that was safer and more efficient. The project was paid for with a $900,000 loan from Skowhegan Savings Bank and $150,000 from town reserve accounts.

“We have a certain responsibility,” Bowman said. “This town is going to be here long after everyone else is.”

The committee first proposed tearing down the old police station on Fairfield Street in 2015, saying it wasn’t safe or comfortable for the officers. The building lacked fire sprinklers, had leaks and mold, didn’t have adequate space to separate victims from offenders and had an insecure booking room, officials said.

The new building will include locker rooms, interview rooms, offices and a secure area for people who are arrested.

The town approved the project 753-320 in a Nov. 3, 2015, referendum. By March this year, public works employees had demolished the old farmhouse, which saved the town money, and construction began in April.

To cut costs, town employees did all of the site work. In April, police Chief Mike Tracy and Sgt. Jerry Haynes also jumped into the construction to help lay a drainpipe.

The committee’s goals, Bowman said, were to build a quality building, stay under budget and make something beautiful for the town.

“Everything is going exactly how we planned,” he said.

While they faced some minor problems, the building committee and the town had a strong liaison to guide them through it, which made a big difference, said Mike Willey, building committee chairman. Rick Mackenzie, who founded Construction Consulting of Maine LLC, worked as the project manager for the police station construction and made sure the town was involved in each decision the committee had to make along the way, Willey said.

“That process, which the town had never used before, worked very well,” he said.

The project also is looking as though it will come in within budget. Willey said it was important to meet the commitment they had made to the taxpayers, as other projects have gone over budgeted expenses in the past.

The budget of $1.05 million included a 9.7 percent contingency goal, which is the amount the committee said it wouldn’t spend, according to Bowman. The committee is going to recommend to the Town Council that the leftover money go toward paying down the $900,000 mortgage.

The committee forgot only an antenna, he said, which costs $1,000. They also changed some flooring choices, so there will be more rubber flooring that hurts less if someone falls.

Oakland’s new building will include the Town Council chamber, which can be used free by other Oakland organizations when police are not conducting training in the room. It will have an audio and visual system, something the town doesn’t have now.

The next step is to pave the parking lots around the Fire Department and on Kennedy Memorial Drive between the Town Office and the police station. On Friday, the Town Office will be closed because of that paving work, and the parking lots should be open again Monday.

Public works employees also will complete stonework outside the station and plant shrubs and flowers next spring, Bowman said.

“It’s a nice surprise to be where we are,” Willey said.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour

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