Here's what the police station looks like right now

By Douglas McCulloch | Oct 18, 2016
Photo by: Douglas McCulloch Dartmouth Police Chief Robert Szala shows Select Board member John Haran a section of gutted telecommunications equipment.

A day before Dartmouth Police ask voters for $215,000 to search for a permanent home at the October 18 Town Meeting, police invited the Select Board to tour the facility at 249 Russells Mills Road.

Police moved from the 21,000 square-foot building in early 2014 — after bacteria in the water supply made an officer sick — and into 7,200 square feet of modular units in the back of the property, said Police Chief Robert Szala.

During the tour of the previously used station, Szala pointed to floors devoid of tiles – areas where water from a faulty HVAC system and poor exterior construction material flowed into the building. Szala also highlighted areas where experts stripped walls of the building’s long-standing mold problem, a project that cost the town $33,408. The building — which dates to 1920 — also has issues with its roof, which compounds water problems, said Szala.

Select Board member John Haran achieved a better understanding of the building’s current status and asked about future uses for the building. Haran said he originally opposed building a new police station, but is currently unsure how he would vote on the subject. However, he plans to approve the funding request for schematic assessment and design.

Town Administrator David Cressman, who had previously toured the building, said the tour went smoothly.

Voters rejected a $8.6 million proposed renovation at April’s town election, which Szala attributes to location. Szala and his Advisory Committee are currently looking for property that would better serve the high-call zone bordered by Route 6, Allen Street, Slocum Road, and Old Westport Road.

Also on Szala’s wishlist is a 24,000-square-foot facility that he said would sustain a 20-percent growth and meet the town’s needs for the next 50-60 years.

Many of the building's floors have been damaged by water. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Exposed plumbing where walls had to be taken down to clean out toxic mold. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Many rooms have been affected by water damage. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Dartmouth Police Chief Robert Szala discusses problems with the building. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
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