$7 million facelift proposed for Police Station

Jun 25, 2015

After months of discussion, things could finally be moving forward with the Dartmouth Police Station.

The Police Station Building Committee discussed options at its meeting Wednesday afternoon, ultimately deciding to go with “Scheme B,” which would cost more than $7 million. Scheme B guts the entirety of the building and reconfigures it to meet the requirements of the police department while also addressing other needs.

The solution follows the 2014 closing of the Russells Mills Road building when the bacterium legionella was found in the hot water system after an officer became ill with Legionnaires’ disease. Since then, the department has operated out of a modular building located on the property.

At the meeting, architect Allen Lieb proposed two major schemes for what to do with the bacteria-infested building.

“Scheme A is a more economical approach,” said Lieb, while noting that Scheme B, on the other hand, is considered among the committee to be a more energy efficient approach.

The Scheme A proposal also consisted of completely gutting the inside of the police station, but not its walls. That proposal was said to have an estimated cost of $5 million.

“Scheme A just takes care of what’s wrong,” said Town Administrator David Cressman.

Also proposed in Scheme B is an all new HVAC system, which includes a central system with a cooling tower. The plan also includes stripping the exterior of the building of its siding, which would then be replaced with brick, giving it “a friendlier look.”

If approved, the work is expected to begin within 12 to 15 months from now.

Scheme B would also include a public greeting station at its entrance.

“You’ll always be greeted by a live person,” said Szala.

Another recommendation was made by Police Brotherhood Representative Joe Vieira, who said the existing World War I monument should be moved to the front of the police station.

“The monument should have seats around it and be cleaned up to make it look nicer,” said Vieira.

“It is going to be more inviting,” said committee member Chris Frias.

Scheme B will be presented to the Select Board on July 13. If approved, the plan will be introduced to Fall Town Meeting in October. For the plan to go through, two-thirds of the town meeting members must vote yes.