HOLDEN, Maine — Town councilors selected Al Benner Homes on Monday to construct the new public safety building, which will provide local police with a permanent space to call home.
Al Benner Homes, located on Main Road, was chosen from 13 possible contractors and was the low bidder at $174,740, Town Manager John Butts said Tuesday.
The new police station will be a modular building, “built to commercial specs and our specifications,” he said.
Construction is expected to start right away and be finished by the end of the year, Butts said.
The new 1,920-square foot police station will include three offices, an interview room, bathrooms, a small kitchen, a secretary-patrol room, a secure waiting room and a conference and training room available for use by the public.
The new one-story building will have a basement for storage and be placed beside the town hall possibly with a covered breezeway connecting the two structures. The construction includes insulating the basement and adding a concrete wheelchair ramp at the front of the building, the town manager said.
The new public safety building will replace a leased modular classroom the department has used for nearly three years.
“This is a project that is way past due,” Public Safety Director Jim Ellis has said.
While the rented double-wide modular space is an improvement over the 8-foot-by-8-foot office police shared in the town hall basement three years ago, it is temporary space that has no plumbing and was not designed for police use, he said.
The lease for the modular expires in December, making the timing perfect, Butts said. Town councilors directed Butts to research several ways to pay for the project.
“What we’re trying to do is a partial cash payment [from the reserve fund] and partial financing” to keep the cost at around $750 a month, which is the current modular building lease amount, he said. “It won’t change any tax dollars or any budgets.”
The Holden Police Department provides 24-7 police coverage in town, with three full-time officers and six part-time or reserve officers, who answer approximately 2,500 calls for service yearly.
Furniture from the current police facility will be moved to the new facility, but some new items, such as a conference room table, will need to be purchased, Butts said.
After two attempts to get a new public safety facility, which residents rejected resoundingly, it was good to get a nod of approval from residents, the town manager said.
“A number of local residents attended Monday night’s meeting and voiced their support for this latest project,” Butts said.
Town residents rejected a proposed $850,000 fire station building in 2007 and a $1.8 million combined fire and police station in 2006.