AUGUSTA — The Augusta City Council voted last week to strike a deal with a Portland architectural firm to design the city’s new police station.

Councilors voted unanimously to authorize interim City Manager Susan Robertson to negotiate an agreement with Port City Architecture to design the police station for which voters earlier this summer authorized borrowing $20.5 million to build.

At a previous meeting, councilors said they supported hiring Port City to design the police station.

The firm’s bid of $600,000 was selected over the only other bid: $1.04 million from Artifex Architects & Engineers of Bangor, which would have partnered with Manns Woodward Studios Public Safety Architecture of Maryland, with which the city contracted to have a needs assessment done for the same police station proposal.

Andrew Hyland, a principal partner in Port City Architecture, told city councilors the $20.5 million Augusta has to build a new police station is adequate. He said there might be enough to add features, such as solar panels to increase the building’s long-term sustainability and decrease the cost of the project to taxpayers.

Hyland said other public safety building projects with which his firm has been involved typically have had a per-square-foot cost in the upper-$300 range. The estimate provided by other industry experts for the city ahead of the June bond vote for the Augusta station was almost $700 per square foot.


“I talked to the construction manager we just did Yarmouth with,” Hyland said. “I gave him the square footage, the price and he felt exactly the same way — that there was plenty of money in that budget, by a lot.”

That was a welcome projection to city councilors, some of whom said they thought the previous estimates to build a proposed new, roughly 24,500-square-foot police station at the corner of Willow and Cony streets were high.

The firm also designed the new Waterville Police Station and public safety buildings in Sanford, Gorham, Berwick and Falmouth.

Hyland said the firm will design the new station for Augusta after taking a photographic survey of Augusta and its architecture, with the goal of fitting in with the existing architecture. The design will not be based on a conceptual drawing of the station provided previously by Artifex.

“This is like a once in a few decades opportunity to present the excellence of our city, and I just encourage you to have a sharp pencil but a creative eye and bring the momentum that Augusta has and continue that forward,” Mayor David Rollins told Hyland previously.

The city has still not closed on the Willow Street property where the new station is expected to be built. A former Hannaford supermarket building on the site would be demolished to make way for the new police station, but only if the city acquires the lot from its current owners.

The owners leased the building to Hannaford and have been in negotiations with the city.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: