FARMINGTON — The committee in charge of planning a new Franklin County communications center will work with the same architectural firm that drew plans for a Sheriff's Department building, committee Chairman Stan Wheeler said Tuesday.
“We don't want to reinvent the wheel,” Wheeler said.
Smith Reuter Lull Architects of Lewiston and Bethel designed a $4.46 million project to improve space, the environment and safety for the Sheriff's Department and communications center building on County Way, but voters rejected funding it in November 2010.
The 16-member Franklin County Dispatch Committee agreed to stay with the firm since it had put so much work into designs.
The committee is working on a plan to build a new communications center building on the County Way property, allowing the Sheriff's Department to take over its entire building. The committee will also look at plans to convert a portion of the jail, which is in a separate building on the property, into a communications center.
This summer, the county agreed to lease space on Main Street, near the Superior and District courthouses, for the District Attorney's Office, which is in the basement of the county courthouse.
There is $20,000 in the current budget to cover costs of a referendum, legal and other associated expenses to get the project before voters next June.
The committee plans to tour the new Somerset County Communications Center in Skowhegan, Wheeler said, and talk with representatives about what they would have done differently.
At its recent organizational meeting, the committee decided to make county Commissioner Clyde Barker an ex-officio member with no voting power so when the panel's recommendation goes before commissioners he will be able to vote on it, Wheeler said.
Committee members include, in addition to Wheeler and Barker, Tim Hardy, Clyde Ross, Warren Bryant, John Calloway, Terry Bell, Dave Robie, Dennis Pike, Greg Roux, Larry White, Melinda Caton, Rudy Davis, Scott Nichols, Stephan Bunker and Thomas Marble. They represent fire officials, police chiefs, dispatchers, Budget Committee members, the Emergency Medical Service director, the sheriff and county representatives.