By Alex Lippa
---- — HAMPSTEAD — Town officials are hammering out the details as they prepare to build a long-awaited new police station on Veterans Way.
Approved at Town Meeting earlier this month, members of the Police Station Building Committee hope the building will be ready by Town Meeting next March.
“This is the hard part now,” police Chief Joseph Beaudoin said yesterday. “We want this under budget and something that the town will be proud of.”
Residents voted, 1,084-837, for the $1.63 million station at the polls March 12. It was the fifth time voters were asked to approve a new station, but the first time they were asked to pay for it in just one year.
Town officials are working to ensure the community sees results quickly.
The committee reached a contract agreement with Barker and Associates of Concord to provide the architectural plans. The agreement was presented to selectmen Monday night and the town’s attorneys are reviewing the plans.
“That’s a really big step,” said Stephen Londrigan, chairman of the building committee. “Once that is approved, then the project will really start moving.”
Once the plans are finalized, the town will solicit construction bids. If all goes well, ground could be broken by the end of the summer.
“People should be excited about seeing some visual progress soon,” Londrigan said.
He said there has been a lot of interest from contractors.
The new station is estimated to be about 7,500 feet, three times bigger than the current one, built in 1948. The new station will be equipped with cells, a training room and women’s locker rooms.
Officials don’t have a concrete construction timeframe.
“It all depends on the weather,” Londrigan said. “But we’d like to see it completed by late winter or early spring. We want it done before Town Meeting.”
Beaudoin said the eight officers in his department are looking forward to the upgraded facilities.
“The guys are ecstatic,” he said. “Once the floor plan gets finished, it will start to become real.”
While the new station’s plans are being finalized, the future of the current station remains unknown.
Selectmen will have the final say, but have not discussed it yet.
“The feeling is, we are just going to let it sit for a year,” Selectman Richard Hartung said. “Right now, our main focus is getting the new station built.”
Beaudoin said there are a lot of options on the table.
“It could be made into a nice parking lot behind the town offices,” he said. “Or maybe the town will decide to use it for something.”