The Gorham Town Council will decide Tuesday whether to ask voters again if they want to upgrade their police and fire department headquarters.
The latest plan calls for a $5 million renovation and expansion of the Public Safety Building on Main Street, which would include the construction of a new building for the police department, leaving the existing building for the sole use of the fire department.
Town Manager David Cole said the council will decide Tuesday whether to hold a townwide vote on the project on Nov. 4 and set a public hearing for Sept. 2.
Last year, voters resoundingly rejected a $6.3 million plan to renovate the former Little Falls school into the new public safety headquarters. The police and fire departments currently share the same building on Main Street that was constructed in the 1970s. The town first identified there was a space crunch there in 1999. Town officials say there’s a need for more sleeping areas and showers for firefighters, interview rooms for the police department, and offices, conference rooms and storage space for both agencies.
“We have made do for a number of years knowing that we would one day benefit from the citizens of Gorham realizing that we need a suitable facility in which to conduct business,” said Police Chief Ronald Shepard, who said it’s a coincidence that he’s planning to retire on Nov. 4 – Election Day.
In the new plan, two bays for fire department apparatuses would be added to the existing building and the layout would be altered for a more efficient design, according to Andrew Hyland of Port City Architecture.
The fire station would also house a new training area for both departments, which could also be used as an emergency operations center for the town.
A new 10,000-square-foot police station would be built between the existing building and Main Street.
Hyland said that if voters approve the funding in November, the project could be completed by the late spring of 2016.