LRGHealthcare relocating laundry to O'Shea Industrial Park

LACONIA — Officials at LRGHealthcare confirmed yesterday that their laundry facility will be relocating to the former Cormier Hosiery Mill located in the O'Shea Industrial Park.

Suzanne Stiles, the chief Human Relations officer and senior vice-president of Administration and Support Services, said the hospital expects the relocation to be a long-term arrangement.

"It's the perfect setup," Stiles said yesterday.

On September 22, LRGHealthcare lost its laundry facilities in a three-alarm blaze that gutted a commercial building on the corner of Fair and Court Streets. The hospital company was a tenant in the building and although firefighters were able to save two trucks, Stiles said most of the rest of the equipment was destroyed or damaged beyond repair.

She said LRGHeathcare is still working with their insurance companies to know the exact amount of their losses. Stiles confirmed yesterday that the company lost all of the linen in the building, some of their machines, the conveyor belts, and all of their supplies.

She also said that LRGHealthcare looked at many options including staying with sub-contractors before deciding on keeping the laundry in-house and going to the industrial park, a place she described a "perfect" for the laundry.

In the interim, LRGHeathcare has been sub-contracting their laundry services to Kleen Linen of Lebanon.

The laundry employes eight full-time workers, a number of part-time employees and processes about 1-million pounds of laundry annually said Stiles. She said all of the employees have been kept on the payroll and have been assisting in other departments. All laundry and linen used by Lakes Region General Hospital, Franklin Regional Hospital, and all affiliates is done by the operation.

Stiles said yesterday that now that the ink is dry on the contract with Odilon "Odie" Cormier, her company will be evaluating the building to see what work needs to be done to get the hospital facilities up and running.

She said LRGHealthcare has rented the back potion of the building at 144 Lexington Drive and it is the space that the former hosiery mill used for production. The front of the building is used by Smiths Tubular Systems (Titeflex).

Stiles said the space is ideal however she wanted to thank Mike McCarthy, who is the owner of the Court Street building for being a wonderful landlord. McCarthy said last week that he was still not sure if the portion of the building that housed the laundry will have to be razed. As of yesterday it was still standing.

Fire Chief Ken Erickson said the flames didn't reach the laundry portion of the building during the morning of the blaze but there was significant chemical, water and smoke damage done to the commercial laundry equipment.

Erickson said the fire is suspicious and continues to be one of several recent fires being investigated by city police and the N.H. Fire Marshal's Office.