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.
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