By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — In keeping with a tradition begun in Norway in 1898, a team from Harvey Construction Corporation of Bedford and American Fabricators, Inc, of Grenfield topped off the new headquarters of the New Hampshire Marine Patrol at Glendale Monday by placing the final steel beam, graced by an evergreen tree and American flag and the signatures of workers, on the highest point of the building.
"Lego for big boys," remarked Jim Johnson of American Steel Fabricators, one of a pair of ironworkers atop the structure who jockeyed the beam into position and bolted it into place.
The tradition, which is upheld by ironworkers, celebrates the work of all those contributing to the project and imparts good fortune to those who will work in the building.
Paul Kent of Harvey Construction said that the unseasonably warm temperatures and fair skies have already favored the project, which is two or three weeks ahead of schedule. He said the building is expected to be completed in September.
Designed by Samyn-D'Elia Architects of Ashland, the facility is being built on the 0.92-acre lot where the headquarters have stood since 1962 and on a footprint, which in order to meet setback requirements and accommodate existing infrastructure closely matches that of the original structure. The new building will be adjoined by an abutting 1.4-acre lot, purchased by the state in which will provide parking for 80 vehicles.
The building, with approximately 26,000 square feet of space, will house the administrative and enforcement functions of the agency as well as a facility to maintain and repair its fleet. At the same time, the building will serve boat owners seeking to register their vessels and attend boater education classes.
The two-story headquarters will face the Glendale parking area. The administrative offices, including an area where boat owners can register their vessels, will be on the first floor and the quarters for enforcement personnel on the second floor, along with a classroom, with capacity for 60 students.
The single largest spaces in the building are for the storage and repair of boats. The existing dock will be reconfigured. There will be a basin added within the building to enable officers to bring persons in custody as well as vessels to be stored or repaired directly into the building. Boats will be stored in the middle of the building and repaired on the east side of the building in space large enough to house a crane to move them about. Captain Tim Dunleavy noted that the building will serve as principal repair facility for the agency's entire fleet.
Along with construction of the building, the stormwater management system at the site will be improved. The site will be ringed by grassed swales and a landscaped buffer to retain stormwater from neighboring properties. Additional drainage and catch basins to capture and cleanse run-off before it reaches the lake.
The building will replace what was originally built to store boats in the late 1950s and acquired by the state to house Marine Patrol in 1962. An assessment of the building in 2009 found that '''the building is experiencing settlement in several different directions." Dunleavy recalled that personnel monitored the subsidence of the building by measuring the widening gaps between the interior walls and rolling marbles across their desks.
The Legislature appropriated $9,379,313 for the project in the 2013-2015 capital budget. In addition, $1,348,000 from the Navigation Safety Fund, accrued from boat registration fees, was applied to the purchase of the abutting lot at 17 Dock Road where Glendale Marine operated.
Architect's renderings of the building under construction.