Proposed design puts police station in renovated town hall

Oct 13, 2022

A firearms training simulator, ample storage, and a corner office for the police chief are all features found in a proposed design for a new police station inside of a renovated Town Hall.

The Police Building Study Committee heard from Tecton Architects, a firm hired by the town to help complete a feasibility study of a public safety facility, about how the current town hall could be renovated to accommodate the needs of the Wareham Police Department. 

This design comes after the Select Board voted to accept Town Administrator Derek Sullivan’s plan to shuffle town departments among the Decas Elementary School, the Multi Service Center and the Town Hall.

Under Sullivan’s plan, the Town Hall would house the Police Department. 

“It’s not quite perfect,” said Jeffery McElravy, an architect with Tecton, describing the proposed design for the police station. “There’s still a few things we need to sort out.”

In his design, McElravy fits much of what the police department needs into the three-story building. 

The ground floor of the building would contain a dispatch center, among other offices. The second floor of the building would house administrative areas, including the police chief’s corner office, a conference room, and document storage. 

The basement would contain locker rooms, holding cells, a laboratory, evidence and weapon storage, and other secure areas.

What is now an auditorium and stage would become a training facility and firearms training simulator under the new plan. The balcony above the auditorium would become a multi-tiered briefing room, he said.

Two new additions that house vehicle bays and interview rooms would be added to the building as well, he said.

According to McElravy, retrofitting an existing building comes with challenges. There are a number of small rooms that can only be used for storage. He also said he hasn’t been able to fit everything he wants into the floor plan.  

“I always say that designing a building is like putting a jigsaw puzzle together but the jigsaw pieces have no shape,” he said. “When you’re doing the same thing inside of a box with constraints, that gets wild.”

McElravy said he still needs to find room for an IT office, a laundry room and more. 

Wareham Police Chief Walter Correia said he was “impressed” with Tecton’s design, but that the firm needs to take a closer look at the security of the proposed station’s lobby and of the prisoner release area.

Correia said that the lobby, which is publicly accessible, offers little to separate it from more secure areas on the building's first floor.

Additionally, the prisoner release currently opens up into the police officer parking lot, which is a secure area. 

Tecton Architects will meet with the Police Building Study Committee on Thursday, Nov. 3, to present an updated plan for the proposed police station.