Scarborough gets plan for $21.5M public safety HQ

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SCARBOROUGH — A proposal for a new public safety building that could cost the town $21.5 million was presented to the Town Council at a Wednesday workshop.

In November the town formed an 11-member ad-hoc committee to research information about the project.

The proposed 53,000-square-foot building would house police, fire and emergency dispatch, along the south side of the Scarborough Municipal Building on U.S. Route 1. The current 17,100-square-feet building is down the street at 246 U.S. Route 1.

The estimate includes construction costs of about $17 million and covers the building, site work, a new access road and a communications tower. Soft costs, such as furnishings, equipment and security systems, would be about $2.8 million. A $1.7 million contingency is also built into the proposal.

The committee recommended the existing building be sold and the proceeds of the sale be used to offset the cost of the new building and reduce the amount the town would have to borrow if the council agrees to proceed. 

Committee Chairman Kevin Freeman said the town has seen some interest in the property, which is not listed for sale. Freeman said a preliminary estimate of the value of the land, which doesn’t include the building, is $1.5-$1.8 million.

Jeff Shaw, a principal at Boston-based Context Architecture, presented a building design and site rendering to the council and said interior finishes were chosen for durability and easy upkeep. The outside materials and appearance, he said, will also complement the adjacent municipal building. 

Police Chief Robbie Moulton and Fire Chief Michael Thurlow also advocated for the project. 

They cited existing space constraints, changes in service expectations, and physical problems with the existing building. There are also issues with access and egress that are caused by the proximity to the Oak Hill intersection, where traffic backups sometimes blocks emergency response and gridlock prevents drivers from yielding to emergency vehicles. 

During the regular council meeting that followed, councilors unanimously extended the ad-hoc committee through the November election, when a bond referendum could go to voters.

Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or Follow her on Twitter @melaniesochan.

A rendering of Scarborough’s proposed new public safety building, as viewed from U.S. Route 1.

A site plan for Scarborough’s proposed public safety building.