Finance clerks Linda Gagne, left, and Mary Fortier share a crowded workspace last Wednesday at the collections office at the Winslow Town Office at 114 Benton Ave. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

WINSLOW — Town officials say they have outgrown their municipal building on Benton Avenue and are weighing proposals from three firms to design a new home for Winslow’s administrative offices and Police and Fire departments.

The Town Office was built in 1965, and as Town Councilor Peter Drapeau said, it has problems with mold and other “unhealthy” working conditions.

The building at 114 Benton Ave., Drapeau said, has “lived its life.”

Beginning last month, the Town Council meetings were relocated from the building to the Winslow Public Library at 136 Halifax St. Drapeau said the move was to give cramped office workers more elbow room.

“We have four ladies working in a space that was probably designed for two,” he said of the administrative offices.

While moving those monthly meetings elsewhere provides a temporary fix, officials said they are looking toward permanent solutions.


Drapeau is one of nine members of a facility committee investigating a new municipal complex for the town.

In mid-September, the town issued a request for proposals, or RFP, to design such a building. The project is to include a site assessment of 135 Halifax St., where the Department of Public Works is located, as a possible location for the new facility.

There is no cost estimate yet for the project because it is in the preliminary stages of planning.

The driving force behind looking for a new building is the Fire Department, Town Manager Erica LaCroix wrote in an email. The fire station was built when the department was all volunteers and only men.

The Winslow Town Office at 114 Benton Ave., photographed last Wednesday, with the fire station at right. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

The vehicle bays, she said, are too few and too small for the equipment the department now owns. The ladder trucks of today are larger than those the facility was built to accommodate almost 60 years ago.

Also, the station was designed before women were part of the Winslow Fire Department, so the limited bunk space available to firefighters does not include a locker room or showering facilities for women.


LaCroix said the municipal building is also inadequate or problematic in other ways, including health and safety concerns.

“Illness spreads very rapidly among our staff,” LaCroix said, “so we know we have air handling issues.”

A single shower stall, right, is all that is available to members of the Winslow Fire Department, whose station is part of the Winslow Town Office complex at 114 Benton Ave. Kaitlyn Philbrick, executive assistant to the town manager, is shown next to the doorway to the quarters for women firefighters. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

LaCroix said two employees have suffered respiratory problems while working at the building: A firefighter is experiencing “issues relating to mold,” and an office worker has been complaining of a cough that appears within a couple hours of her arrival at the office and eases when she returns home.

LaCroix said she also worries about the building’s security. She said violence or aggressive behavior toward public officials and employees were not concerns back in 1965, so the building does not have a secondary exit or safe area to gather during an emergency.

“Once an aggressor is in our space,” LaCroix said, “we have nowhere to escape.”

Panic buttons installed at the Town Office go to the dispatching center in Waterville, LaCroix said. When testing the system, the fastest help could arrive was about three minutes – “an eternity if someone is shooting,” she said.

“The anticipated life of a building is 55 to 60 years,” LaCroix said. “This building has achieved that.”

She said Winslow has received RFPs from three firms, and the facility committee is scheduled to review them Nov. 2.

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