AUGUSTA — The Kennebec Journal building at 274 Western Ave. will be the new home of Crisis & Counseling, a mental-health and substance-abuse counseling agency that has been seeking to move for about a year.

Richard Connor, president and chief executive officer of MaineToday Media, the newspaper’s parent company, said the company is seeking a new location in Augusta for the Kennebec Journal.

The sale of the building calls for the newspaper to vacate by March 17. Anthony Ronzio, editor and publisher of the Kennebec Journal, said the newspaper’s goal is to be out by the beginning of March.

A sale price was not disclosed. City records show that the Kennebec Journal property was most recently assessed at about $3.3 million – $1.4 million for its 5.28-acre parcel and $1.8 million for the 53,000-square-foot building.

Lynn Duby, Crisis & Counseling’s chief executive officer, said the agency paid less than the assessed value.

Ronzio said the newspaper will move to smaller quarters because press operations were consolidated 11 months ago with the MaineToday Media printing plant in South Portland.

As part of the change, some computer functions and a few employees will move to the Morning Sentinel building on Front Street in Waterville.

The Kennebec Journal, the state’s oldest newspaper, began as a weekly in Augusta in 1825. The paper moved from Willow Street after building its plant on Western Avenue in 1961.

Judi Watters, director of development and public relations for Crisis & Counseling, said the agency’s move to Western Avenue would make it possible to bring in other nonprofit agencies.

Crisis & Counseling’s move will free its current property on Winthrop Street to allow for an expansion of Kennebec County courts.

Duby said the court system’s need prompted the agency’s move. The agency and the courts have essentially agreed on a price for the Winthrop Street property, she said.

Last year, Maine Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Leigh Saufley outlined plans for a new court building at the current site of Crisis & Counseling’s offices. She envisioned a new court building accessed by a single public entrance, staffed by a security team and entirely handicapped-accessible. The cost of the new building will be about $55 million.

The court system cannot issue bonds to build a courthouse until it owns the property, said Mary Ann Lynch, director of court information for the Maine judicial branch.