Old police station slated to be demolished

May 1, 2023

A wrecking ball will soon take a swing at the site of the former Dartmouth Police Station at 249 Russells Mills Road.

The town has put out a call for contractors to demolish the 2 ½-story building, which is listed at 21,000 square feet, and has two garage structures in the rear, Town Administrator Shawn MacInness said.

“There’s really no productive use for the building,’’ he said.

Officials determined that the building cannot be reused, MacInnes said. Costs to build housing on the site would be “prohibitive’’ to either the town or a private developer, he said.

The building, which once served as Dartmouth Town Hall, faces “internal and external’’ issues, MacInnes said.

Legionella bacteria was found in the pipes in 2014, when the site was used as a police station.

An officer became sick that year with what was diagnosed as Legionnaires Disease, which is caused by the Legionella bacteria. The building has since been vacant.

The police department worked out of an outbuilding in the rear lot until the current station on Slocum Road opened in 2019.

MacIness said that when the building is razed, additional access space will be freed up for Dartmouth Youth Athletic Association athletic fields at the rear of the structure. Security and maintenance concerns for the old building will no longer need to be addressed. 

The veterans monument and adjacent Dartmouth Community Television headquarters will remain, he said.

The site could someday house a town facility, since Dartmouth “does not have a lot of developable land’’ for potential future municipal buildings. Dartmouth is home to a fair amount of open land, he noted, but much of that is reserved for conservation use or other open space.

“We’ll keep our options open,’’ MacInnes said.

Bids for the demolition are due by mid-May. No date has been set for the razing of the structure.