PORTSMOUTH — Black mold, roof leaks, water damage and air-quality concerns are on a list of problems at the police station being compiled by a new city facilities manager.

Police Commissioner Stefany Shaheen said the health of police employees is critical to their well-being and, "there's a lot of work to be done" to improve their headquarters, located in an old hospital. Shaheen said she's going to make it a priority, during her tenure on the commission, to ensure the problems are remedied, while calling air quality "urgent" and physical concerns "a top priority."

The problems were discussed during the March 7 Police Commission meeting when all three of the citizen police-oversight commissioners expressed concern for the conditions they said are being catalogued by new facilities manager Joe Almeida.

"Captain (Frank) Warchol's office was black with mold," Commission Chair Joe Onosko said. "He's been breathing that in for who knows how long. This can't persist as it is now."

Ceiling tiles, carpet, windows and wallpaper were all removed and replaced in Warchol's office, which was also repainted, because of the mold, police officials said. Public Works Director Peter Rice said Monday the problem in Warchol's office was caused by old windows that allowed water to get inside and collect behind vinyl wallpaper. He said the mold was tested and was not airborne, so it was not a health hazard.

Rice said one roof over the police station has been replaced, but a second still needs replacing because it leaks, including into Chief Robert Merner's office.

A draft report notes the highest readings for mold were in the youth Police Explorer's room and that the auxiliary officers' room "experienced significant leaks, rats and on the air testing had elevated levels of mold." The "telephone room," which contains all IT and phone cables, "is not designed for protection during a disaster" and if flooded, all of City Hall and the Police Department would be without phones or internet, the draft reports.

Ceiling tile on the first floor should be replaced because it has been the "'rat run' for the majority of rats caught" at police headquarters, according to the draft.

The Police Department's business manager Karen Senecal reported during Thursday's meeting that a new door on the new police station lobby blew off, so it's being redesigned. The lobby was part of a large construction project that replaced windows, the lobby and a deteriorating brick facade.

Senecal said the new door was designed to withstand 50 to 60 mile-per-hour winds, but 70 mile-per-hour winds "ripped it completely off." She said the door frame was also damaged, so the lobby is going to be redesigned with a sliding door and electric eye for opening and closing.

Senecal said she met last week with Almeida, a local architect, engineer and former Historic District Commission chairman, who was hired by the city as its new municipal facilities manager. She said they walked through police headquarters and Almeida created a spreadsheet listing problems in every police station office, with corresponding estimates for repairs.

Senecal said now that the building exterior has been replaced, the building is more energy efficient, but that's led to air problems.

"Now it's so buttoned up, nothing is moving," she said. "So they're planning to calibrate the HVAC system because they need a lot more air in here. It's very stifling."

On a record-breaking cold day in January, new windows were opened in the police portion of the City Hall building because of high temperatures inside.

Rice said Monday that some air ducts in the police station were previously blocked and repairs are on the to-do list. Because the building is more energy efficient, he said, the exiting air system has to be readjusted.

Shaheen said during Thursday's meeting that she'd like Rice and Almeida to establish ongoing air-quality monitoring.

Onosko concurred, "We'd like to see regular air-quality checks on all the floors."

Merner said there has been testing for air-quality and mold, which will continue.

Commissioner Jim Splaine said mitigation "is not all that expensive" and can be done one room at a time. He urged city officials to ensure the police station receives attention "sooner rather than later."

Senecal noted a computer room in the police station flooded when a water pipe burst in January, flooding the building from the top floor to the basement. She said police officials are considering moving IT operations to a generator room which has no water pipes.

Rice said Monday a priority list will be created for the police station, but the process will take time and money will have to be allocated. He said Almeida will be an asset through the process in his new role overseeing facilities and staff for all city buildings, including the Spinnaker Point recreational center, parking garages, Prescott Park and the Doble Center, which is poised to become a new senior center.

"It takes time to do these projects," Rice said.

City Manager John Bohenko said Monday that Almeida's annual salary is $98,871.