County offices move downstairs

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AUBURN — The long-vacant basement beneath the Androscoggin County Building is occupied again.

On Wednesday, workers were running wires between offices to prepare for deputies’ computers. In one room, desks were heaped into a pile. In another, an investigator had begun moving his belongings into a windowless room.

“They’re going to have privacy again,” Patrol Capt. Ray Lafrance said. “They had nothing before.”

Since October 2006, the basement area has been off limits to personnel, by order of the former County Commission. The group had worried the dank and musty air might be a health hazard. However, an air quality study of the area last year found that most of the spaces could be occupied with a little work.

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By the end of next week, deputies will have three workstations to pick from and classes may return to the large training room.

The change should also prevent deputies from working out of borrowed desks in town police and fire stations, where they have been getting by since the department had to move.

“It’s only temporary, and it’s not complete,” Sheriff Guy Desjardins said. “But it’s a big improvement.”

A suite of offices that had been occupied by detectives will remain off limits for now.

“There is just too much to do in there,” Lafrance said.

County commissioners have vowed to set a course for the building this year.

Commissioners plan to hire consultants to give the 19th century building a detailed analysis. A large-scale renovation may follow.

dhartill@sunjournal.com

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