SCARBOROUGH — Town voters approved a $19.5 million bond issue Tuesday that will largely fund a plan to replace the crowded and outdated public safety building with a new facility to be built on the other side of Route 1, next to Town Hall.

The vote was 3,466 to 3,000, according to results issued by Town Clerk Tody Justice.

The $21.5 million plan will address widespread and long-standing deficiencies in the existing headquarters of the Police and Fire & Rescue departments, near the busy Oak Hill intersection with Gorham Road (Route 114) and Black Point Road (Route 207).

The proposal took nearly a year to develop and answered a need that was first identified in 2007, before an economic recession hit and school building projects took priority. Town officials plan to cover the full cost of the new building with $625,000 in reserved funds and an estimated $1.4 million from the future sale of the existing building.

Built in 1989, the existing 17,000-square-foot building has widespread and varied problems. Photocopiers, bookcases and storage boxes line hallways. Patrol officers conduct alcohol breath tests in a lunch room. A former jail cell is now a deputy fire chief’s office. And an indoor gutter system diverts rain from a roof leak into a bucket behind the police chief’s desk.

A planning committee determined that the current site isn’t large enough for a full renovation and expansion and would still have access issues related to its location at the Oak Hill intersection. Traffic stopped on Route 1 often backs up beyond the site, blocking the driveway and delaying emergency vehicles from responding to calls.

Designed by Context Architecture of Boston, the proposed 53,000-square-foot building will accommodate current public safety needs and anticipate community and staffing growth through 2041, the police and fire chiefs said. Some community members raised concerns about the longterm cost of borrowing $19.5 million to replace a 28-year-old building, which would be $29.4 million, paid off over 30 years.

Now that voters have approved the project, it will take several months to complete the building’s design and hire a builder, town officials said. Construction would take about 18 months, starting sometime next summer and finishing in late 2019 or early 2020.

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

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