Flags are lowered to half-staff Oct. 26, 2023, outside the Androscoggin County Building in Auburn. Commissioners are expected to vote Wednesday on making an offer to buy a building at 800 Center St. for county offices. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

AUBURN — The Androscoggin County commissioners are expected to vote Wednesday to make an offer to purchase the building at 800 Center St. and move operations there from the county courthouse at Court and Turner streets.

The building at 800 Center St. is occupied by John F. Murphy Homes.

The information on Wednesday’s expected vote came from Jared M. Bornstein, who has been retained by the county for public relations.

Bornstein said he did not know how much the county will offer or if all operations will move there or just administrative offices. Other offices that could move include the Register of Probate and the Registry of Deeds.

The District Attorney’s Office and the Emergency Management Agency are in Lewiston.

The Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office is moving next door at 774 Center St., the former Evergreen Subaru building. The jail is staying at 40 Pleasant St.


The move will save county taxpayers money, Bornstein said. There will be plenty of parking, something lacking at its present location.

He expects that American Rescue Plan Act funds will be used to purchase the building. ARPA funds must be allocated by the end of 2024 or the county will lose what money remains.

The Androscoggin County Courthouse has housed county government offices since it opened in 1857.

Growing frustration with the ballooning cost to revamp the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system at the Androscoggin County Courthouse and Jail, which the county and engineers have spent more than two years attempting to finalize an estimate, forced commissioners to consider other options.

Originally expected to cost less than $3 million when the HVAC upgrades were first proposed, the estimate grew to $5 million. In February 2023, the lone bid on the project totaled more than $8 million, which stunned county officials. A project manager is working with the county to cut the bid to $5.5 million, but officials have struggled to reach that price.

In April 2023, Commissioner Garrett Mason of Lisbon questioned the millions of dollars being spent to upgrade the complex. He added that he saw a need to have a conversation about a potential new building.

Bornstein said the county will not tear down the courthouse, recognizing its historic significance.

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