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Gilmanton voters will be asked to approve purchase of modular classroom for $197,000

GILMANTON — The School Board has voted to put a article on the 2015 warrant for the lease-purchase of a modular classroom unit for the Gilmanton School.

Superintendent John Fauci said this week that the proposed modular unit would cost $197,000, including installation.

He said the cost is higher than the $148,000 that was on the 2014 warrant because the School SDistrict learned from the State Fire Marshall requires sono tubes to tie down the free-standing unit.

Fauci said the district would own the modular in five years.

Fauci said the big difference between the new request and the one that was defeated at the 2014 Annual Town Meeting is the modular unit comes at the recommendation of a Space Needs Committee convened solely for the purpose of evaluating the school.

Budget Committee member Stan Bean, who served as the chair of the committee, said yesterday that the the panel was comprised of two School Board members, two school administrators, two members of the Budget Committee, two parents, two teachers, a now-retired paraprofessional aide, and a member of the Planning Board.

He said there is a unanimous consensus, albeit reluctant, that the school is crowded and something needs to be done.
He said the approximate total cost of a modular unit is about $250,000 which is much less expensive than a "bricks and mortar" permanent expansion of the school.

Bean noted that the Gilmanton School, which has existed in its present configuration in 1997, was designed to meet the needs of a maximum of 400 students, using standards and building requirements acceptable in the mid-1990s.

He said not only have the standards changed in the past 17 years, but the number of students now exceeds 400.
At last check, enrollment was at 405 students.

Bean said that for some reason and at this point in time, Gilmanton and Alton are bucking the state trend toward declining school enrollment numbers. He also said that in the long run, the trend toward declining enrollments will likely happen in Gilmanton as in the rest of the state, so he said a five-year temporary solution is the committee's recommendation.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 December 2014 11:59

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SUV hits Union Ave. utility pole with terrific force

LACONIA — The driver of a Jeep Cherokee that hit a utility pole off lower Union Avenue in Laconia was transported to Lakes Region General Hospital early Christmas Day for treatment of what were described by emergency responders as a severe leg injury. Few details were available at press time, but the Fire Department reported that the vehicle struck the pole — midway along the driver-side — with such force it pushed the frame of the Jeep more than halfway into the passenger cabin. The driver was ejected on impact and when first responders arrived on the scene was being attended to by bystanders. (Photo courtesy Laconia Fire Department.

Last Updated on Friday, 26 December 2014 01:14

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Fluid Dynamics: LHS students get hands on experience controlling robotic arms

LACONIA — Members of Laconia High School's applied physics class are having fun programming hydraulically controlled robotic arms to do some precision lifting.

The robotic arms are made from kits that students have assembled themselves. The arms are moved by applying pressure to liquid-filled syringes which are connected by tubes to the hand-like gripping devices and lifting parts of the arms, helping give the students insight into fluid dynamics and the principles which make things in the real world actually work.

The syringes are color-coded so that the students know which part of the arm will be affected by their actions, as well as exactly how much pressure it takes to make the desired move.

In recent weeks they have been developing a task-oriented approach in which the arms perform a variety of functions in lifting objects and transferring them to different types of containers.

The students were then asked to provide a written list of instructions on each step needed to accomplish those tasks and on Monday were visited by a group of freshmen in the Foundations of Math class who had to follow those instructions, which included the use of decimals, in order to have the mechanical arms to perform the tasks which were outlined.

''Getting the procedure exactly right is the key. The students have to be very organized and very careful to provide detailed instructions so that other people can follow them precisely,'' says College and Career Ready Applied Physics teacher Jo-Ann Gilbert.

Alexis Johnson, 16, a junior, was one of those who set up program which freshmen Kaya Jenkins and Serina Mitchell used to pick up and move objects. Johnson said that knowing how to describe each step required a lot of thought and took the better part of day to complete.

Justin Bilodeau, an 18-year-old senior, said that fluid dynamics is ''something that I could get into.'' He is currently specializing in preparing for a career in the plumbing and heating field.

Matt Roman, a 17-year-old senior who will be attending the Universal Technical Institute in Norwood, Mass., next year to prepare for a career as an automotive technician, said that he is very familiar with fluid dynamics, having already learned about brake systems and power steering in his classes at the Huot Technical Center.

He made his program more difficult by using round objects which needed extra precise movements and required those who were following the instructions, like freshman Justin Padua, to learn how to have the arms grip round objects at the exact center point.

''The students love these kind of hands on challenges and it really gets them involved. It's also fostered a lot of cooperation because they all help each other out and learn a lot from what the other teams are doing. They're learning that it takes practice and the good use of technology to make things work the way you want them to,'' said Gilbert.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 December 2014 11:36

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Marine Patrol buying 1.4-acre lot at Glendale

CONCORD — The Executive Council this week unanimously authorized the Department of of Safety to purchase property abutting the headquarters of Marine Patrol at Glendale in anticipation of constructing a new building to house the agency.

The state is purchasing the 1.4-acre lot at 17 Dock Road, owned by Lakeside Realty LLC where Glendale Marine Ltd. operates, for $1,345,000 plus $3,000 in closing costs with funds accrued by the Navigational Safety Fund. The elongated lot lies between the waterfront lots where the Town Docks and the Marine Patrol headquarters are located, which are owned by the town and state respectively, and the 3.3-acre parcel backing on to Route 11, also owned by the town, which serves as a parking lot.

Last year, when the project was being planned, Assistant Commissioner of Safety Earl Sweeney explained that as the new headquarters would be constructed on the site of the old, the additional land is not required for the new building, but instead for facilitating the operations of the agency.

"It's pretty tight quarters up there," he said of the Glendale neighborhood on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee.

Last year, the Legislature appropriated $9,379,313 in the biennial capital budget to replace the headquarters building. The new building has been designed by the Samyn-D'Elia Architects of Ashland and the department has reviewed three bids for the project, all within the budget. The construction contract, which must be reviewed by the Attorney General, has yet to be presented to the Executive Council for its approval.

The new headquarters will include office space, a dispatch center and a lobby for issuing boat registrations. Along with areas for training and testing boaters, the building will feature a holding cell where violators can be held before being taken to the Belknap County Jail.

During construction, which will begin with demolition of its headquarters, Marine Patrol will operate from the building on the former campus of the Laconia State School that last housed the Lakes Region Community Services Council. Sweeney expects work to begin in early summer and be completed in 2016.

The existing headquarters was originally built in the 1950s to store boats and later converted to serve Marine Patrol. In 2009, an assessment of the building found that ''the building is experiencing settlement in several different directions," or as Sweeney put it "it is slowly sinking into the lake." In addition, the building is not accessible to the handicapped, its roofs fall short of snow load requirements it is heated by three inefficient systems burning two different fuels and its drainage system poses a risk to water quality.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 December 2014 11:20

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