SKOWHEGAN — Although there was some early indication that construction of a public safety building would begin this month, town officials now say the work likely will begin in June.

Despite the later start time for construction, they say the timeline for the project has not been impacted and plans still call for fire and police personnel to move into the new space in May 2023.

Selectmen voted in January to hire Westbrook-based Benchmark Construction to take on the $8.25 million project.

“The (April) date was probably mentioned several months ago; I haven’t put much weight into that date,” Town Manager Christine Almand said Monday. “Recently it’s been determined that (construction) will be beginning in June, but no steadfast date has been determined yet.”

The reason for waiting until June, Almand said, is to allow Benchmark time to finish up some engineering work that’s focused on the building’s foundation. Officials recently received updated building renderings to present to the town’s public safety building committee.

Almand said that a meeting was held last week with representatives from Benchmark and Bangor-based engineering consultant Haley Ward to discuss utility costs for the new building. With the building scheduled to open in about a year, money must be set aside in the upcoming municipal budget to cover those costs.

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Skowhegan voters in 2020 passed an $8.9 million bond to build a combined fire and police station at the corner of East Madison Road and Dunlop Lane. In addition to the bond, town officials have a reserve account of $1.1 million that can be used toward the project.

Bids for construction initially came back higher than what officials were expecting, but officials responded by making some cost-cutting changes to the facade and layout of the building.

Fire Chief Shawn Howard said Monday that most of the equipment the department needs for the new location it already owns. Other supplies, like desks, have already been budgeted for.

“There’s quite a bit of equipment that we’re moving from this station to the new station,” Howard said. “We have a lot of different components that are perfectly fine, so they will be moved over to the new station. There are some furnishings that do have to be purchased, some desk that we don’t have currently because of the size of the rooms here.”

Chief of Police David Bucknam has previously said that he has sought out grants to cover different costs, like lockers and an industrial washer and dryer.

Police operations will move from the town’s municipal building, while fire personnel will move from the fire station on Island Avenue. It’s not clear at this point what may become of the station, which is more than 100 years old.

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