Top Stories

New PI Guard building starts construction despite cost increase

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Construction has begun on the new Maine Army National Guard readiness center, even as builder bids bumped the price up to $18.5 million.

The 43,400-square-foot building is expected to be completed by the end of 2020 and will host the Maine Army National Guard’s 185th Engineer Support Company.

Eagle Lake-based Devoe Construction won the bid for the project, which was originally funded through the federal government at $17.5 million, said Marc Dube, project manager with the Maine Army National Guard.

The bids came in over that $17.5 million figure, however, and the total cost will now be about $18.5 million, Dube said. He added that because of that price increase, some items have been removed from the project for the time being, including a $100,0000 emergency generator and a $350,000 solar photovoltaic system.

“We’re working with the Guard Bureau to get additional funding to get those items back into the project,” Dube said. “We’re going to look at getting some value engineering to see if we can’t get what we need at a little bit of a lower price.”

The Guard’s new readiness center, designed by Bangor-based WBRC Architects-Engineers, will replace an older, smaller building in Caribou and will be the largest building project in Presque Isle since the $7.9 million Sargeant Family Community Center opened in 2016.

The new facility will be located at the corner of Edgemont Drive and Central Drive in the Skyway Industrial Park on 10 acres of land provided by the city of Presque Isle and close to Northern Maine Community College.

The facility will include an assembly hall, multi-purpose classrooms, a full service kitchen and equipment maintenance bays and storage.

The 185th Engineer Support Company currently includes about 120 members and is a part of the 133rd Engineer Battalion. Members provide a range of engineering and construction capabilities and are skilled in carpentry, masonry, electricity, plumbing and mechanics. The company does work for the Guard, municipalities and nonprofit groups.

Dube said the Devoe crew has started clearing topsoil and will be working on site preparation and the building’s foundation until winter arrives.

“They’re anticipating a shutdown and to start again in the spring,” Dube said. “We’re looking at completing in about two years, with the building being occupied by January of 2021.”

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your 4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.