Renovations continue for dispatch center move

DOVER-FOXCROFT — The construction process to move the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center from the cramped conditions of the Piscatquis County Jail in Dover-Foxcroft into the administrative unit of the sheriff’s office on the first floor of the same larger building is underway.

Several unexpected developments have happened during the first two weeks of work, which County Manager Michael Williams informed the Piscataquis County Commissioners of during a meeting on Tuesday morning, March 19.

Williams said some asbestos has been found. Old Town-based project architect Vicki Leavitt has a remediation firm that her company regularly works with and going with this contractor could have everything taken care of in about two weeks as opposed to six to eight weeks if the county opted to look for someone else to remove the asbestos.

“When you are talking under 1 percent it’s usually an easy cleanup,” Williams said. He said asbestos readings from the site came in  at 0.36 and 0.51 percent.

The county manager said when taking down a false ceiling in a former office a small bean was discovered which no one had realized was there. Williams also said the firearms safe was hooked into an old jail cell door.

“You can’t make this stuff up,” he said, saying he and Sheriff Robert Young would be meeting with Leavitt in several days to go over the project adjustments.

Earlier in the month she told the commissioners the dispatch center move would take about six months, concluding the second week of September.

In late November the county commissioners voted to proceed with a low — of three received — $668,944 project bid from Ganneston Construction.

Twice last year the commissioners put the project out to bid. The decision was made to attract more affordable contractors and in December 2022 the commissioners opted to try again in the fall of 2023 to see if material prices would come down.

County officials had planned to move the dispatch center from the control room at the correctional facility in Dover-Foxcroft into the patrol and investigation divisions building in downtown Guilford. Financially and logistically, the sheriff’s office was determined to be a better home for dispatch.

Leavitt looked into three options for the dispatch center’s new location, including the basement of the Peaks House, which houses county offices and commissioners chambers; the basement of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension building; and the first floor of the sheriff’s office.

Leavitt recommended refurbishing the first floor of the sheriff’s office to meet the needs of administrative employees and dispatchers.

The dispatch center is too small for current and future operations, and office space is shared with corrections staff, according to a presentation from Communications Design Consulting Group of Barrington, New Hampshire. County commissioners paid the engineering consultant $27,000 for a feasibility study on radio communications. 

The current dispatch set-up is inadequate for proper layout of the dispatch console equipment, the presentation from November 2021 said.

Staff Writer Valerie Royzman contributed to this story.

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your 4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.