OLD ORCHARD BEACH – Construction of the town’s new $2.5 million police station is moving forward as planned and the work so far is under budget, said Town Manager Jack Turcotte.

To date, the construction is below projected costs “in excess of $100,000,” he said.

In November 2009, residents of Old Orchard Beach approved a bond for the new police station, which the town plans to pay off with rescue billing funds.

Construction started last spring, and the building is expected to be ready for occupancy by the end of February or beginning of March, Turcotte said.

The new station on E. Emerson Cummings Boulevard will offer more space and privacy for officers, said Old Orchard Beach Deputy Chief Keith Babin.

“It’s extremely cramped,” Babin said of the current station on Saco Avenue.

Built in 1975, the current station is shared with the fire department and only offers 3,000 square feet for a year-round police force of 19, Babin said.

The new building will have more than 10,000 square feet and will accommodate the additional 35 to 40 reserve officers who join the department during the summer, he said.

The department has been leasing space on the first floor of the Grand Victorian complex, near the beach, to use as a substation for reserve officers during the summer. When the lease expires in the spring, it will not be renewed, Babin said.

The new building features more space for processing criminals and evidence, cubicles for officers to work, private areas for interviews, a fitness and training space and a large room that can handle up to 50 people for meetings, Babin said.

“There is a lack of space in town to hold meetings, so this will be an asset for the community as well,” he said.

When the police force occupies the new building, the space it vacates will be renovated to accommodate an expansion of the fire department, Turcotte said. While the construction of the building is solid, he said updates and repairs are needed before the fire department can take over the space.

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

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