Renovation and addition 30,620 sf
Construction cost $3.5M
2016 Historic Preservation Award, Greater Portland Landmarks
2016 Statewide Historic Preservation Award, Maine Preservation
2016 Notable Projects, MEREDA
South Portland, ME
The brick-and-limestone Oak Grove complex, a former boarding school, was built in sections between 1928 and 1962. The English Tudor structure overlooks the Kennebec River, with a magnificent view toward the western mountains. Bought by the state in 1989, it sat empty for a decade until the Maine Criminal Justice Academy selected the property for its new home.
Many of MCJA’s functions fitted into Oak Grove’s spaces with relatively little reorganization. The lecture hall was inserted into the old chapel, making use of the existing floor-to-ceiling windows and laminated wood ceiling trusses. The program included a tactical center, lecture hall, classrooms, dining commons, barracks for 130 students, and the parade ground looking over the Kennebec River.
A new 19,000-sf addition houses the gymnasium/tactical center, with a running track on the second level. The tactical center is equipped with garage doors, streetscape murals, and street lighting for training simulations.
The exterior remains as faithful as possible to the original, with the ivy removed, replacement of windows and roofs, and repointing. Two unobtrusive stair towers provide ADA access and fire egress.
Besides new mechanical, sprinkler, and security systems, and a water heater sufficient to provide showers for the entire class at the same time, data drops were wired into every office and dormitory room. Digital projectors were provided in conference and teaching spaces, and a firearms training simulator installed.
Photo credit: © Sandy Agrafiotis