BRUNSWICK – For decades, Brunswick’s police force and dispatchers have dealt with emergencies, interviewed crime victims and processed prisoners from a cramped, stuffy basement in the town office building on Federal Street.

Police Chief Richard J. Rizzo says the police station’s obscure location and inaccessibility — you have to walk down a steep stairway to get to the basement — makes it difficult for some people to even find it.

That’s about to change.

Rizzo said the police department will welcome the public Wednesday night to the town’s new police station at the corner of Stanwood, Pleasant and Mill streets. An open house, featuring tours and a ribbon-cutting ceremony, will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The two-story, 20,318-square-foot building, which cost about $5.5 million, will be hard to miss.

More than 10,000 vehicles a day drive through the intersection, which serves as the gateway to downtown Brunswick and Bowdoin College as well as the Route 1 corridor that leads to Bath, Wiscasset and Down East Maine.

“Everyone is very excited,” Rizzo said. “The (old) police station is just so cramped and it’s not really a professional atmosphere.”

Rizzo said the department has occupied the basement of town hall for at least 30 years.

Previous police administrations lobbied for new headquarters but the town balked at the expenditure that would be required.

Construction of the new police station began about 10 months ago. It was designed by a Boston architectural firm — Donham and Sweeney Architects.

Rizzo said the town’s new police station will house the department’s communications center, which not only dispatches emergency calls for Brunswick but for Freeport as well. It also dispatches fire and rescue calls for Pownal.

The building will feature a ground-floor lobby, a break room, an interview room, a patrol supervisor’s office, a roll call room, a sally port and a small one-car garage. The second floor will house administrative offices, two interview rooms with an observation feature, evidence storage and a private room where crime victims can be interviewed.

The basement will have space for a men’s and women’s locker room, records and property storage, a weapons armory and ammunitions storage.

According to its website, the Brunswick Police Department consists of 36 officers, 10 dispatchers, an animal control officer, a marine patrol officer, and a parking enforcement officer.

Rizzo said the location of the new police station in the center of Brunswick will make some residents — but not all — feel a little safer.

“It’s going to welcome everyone to Brunswick. I think it’s going to send a nice message,” Rizzo said.

Though the public will be able to tour the station this week, police officers, staff and dispatchers won’t actually move into the new building until Oct. 1, according to Rizzo.

 

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

dhoey@pressherald.com