LRCC welcomes resident students with new apartment building


LACONIA — "This is not a dormitory," said Larissa Baia as she opened the door to a spacious carpeted and furnished apartment with a patio offering a view of Lake Winnipesaukee and the White Mountains beyond. "We think it's a game changer," she added.

Baia, vice president of student services at Lakes Region Community College, explained that the college has leased a four-story apartment building with 48 one-, two- and three-bedroom units at the foot of Provencal Road, about a mile northwest of the campus, to provide housing for its students. The building is one of a pair built by Dick Anagnost, a prominent developer from Manchester.

Only NHTI, Concord's Community College, among the seven colleges of the community college system, offers housing, but in dormitories not apartments.

"This makes us unique," said Scott Kalicki, president of the college. "It gives us a leg up."

Baia explained that access to the apartments will be limited to students, who will gain entry not only to the building itself but also to their particular floor with their student identification cards. Nick Walton, the residence director who lives in a ground-floor unit, said all guests must be accompanied by a student and register with a security officer on entering the building. Three security cameras are mounted on each floor and at least one resident assistant will be housed on the three upper stories. Security, Baia stressed, is a high priority.

The units on the ground floor will be reserved for short stays, Baia said, explaining that students in the marine and automotive technology programs may be on the campus for a week or even a day or two. The remainder of the building will house students enrolled for the semester. Lounges and study rooms provide communal spaces for residents and there are laundries on the second and fourth floors.

The building is separated from the college by a woodland crossed by an unimproved pathway. Baia said that students have been directed not to use the path, but instead to drive to the campus. However, she said that the college intends to improve and light the pathway to provide safe and secure passage between the apartments and the campus.

"It would be an eight minute walk," she said.

Baia said that the apartments are priced to reflect the cost of comparable housing at the University of New Hampshire, Plymouth State University and Keene State College. The cost to a student sharing an apartment, which includes all utilities including Internet access, is $3,600 for a semester of 15 weeks, while a student with a single unit would pay $3,950. Student loans can be applied to the cost of housing.

Walton said he is responsible for matching and pairing those students seeking shared housing.

"It's difficult to do just from paperwork," he conceded, "but we do our best to honor their requests."

He said that some 20 students are currently living in the building and that number is expected to increase at least fivefold with enrollment for the fall semester in September. Altogether, there is capacity for 200 students.

Community colleges, Baia said, have long been perceived as "commuter schools," but more students are seeking other options.

"They want the college experience of living and learning," she continued. "We can offer that."

Walton agreed, remarking that "they are snagging applications as soon as they see the building."

She anticipated the housing would enhance the attraction of college's fire science, marine technology and automotive technology programs, which draw students from Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine.

"The apartments will be a huge thing for these programs," she said.

Kalicki said that the housing option positions the college to recruit "way outside the boundaries of our region to the farther reaches of the state," especially for a program like fire science, which is not only the only one of its kind in the state but also the closest for students from neighboring states. At the same time, he said that a resident student population will also have positive effects on the city.

Kalicki said that Anagnost has offered the college an opportunity to lease the other building at the site, which would double its capacity for residential students to 400.
"We're not ready to go there yet," he said, "but we'll see how this goes. It's a great opportunity for the college and the city."

LRCC Housing 10Mar16229300 DS

Lakes Region Community College offers two bedroom apartment units for their students.  (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

LRCC Housing 10Mar16229295 DS

Spacious living room / kitchen area in a two bedroom apartment unit available for students at Lakes Region Community College.  (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

LRCC Housing 10Mar16229293 DS

A double bedroom within a two bedroom apartment unit with walk-in closet offers comfortable living space for students at Lakes Region Community College.  (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)

Meredith voters back vendor fees for Motorcycle Week


MEREDITH — Voters approved a warrant article authorizing selectmen to establish licensing fees for Motorcycle Week vendors by a 98-42 vote at Wednesday night's town meeting.
The town will start collecting the $450 license fees in 2017. They are designed to offset the costs of police, fire and public works department activities during the week, which amounted to $18,000 last year.
The vote came after some discussion and two attempts to amend the ordinance. One of those amendments was proposed by David Sticht, who said he was opposed to the article, and would have established a licensing fee schedule for all vendors doing business in Meredith. It was defeated after Laura Specter-Morgan, town counsel, said that it was her opinion that the amendment was too broad and changed the subject matter of the article from Motorcycle Week to all events at which vendors participated.
Doug Frederick, owner of the American Police Motorcycle Museum, proposed an amendment which would have allowed vendors for non-profits to either pay no fee or a reduced fee and would have directed that any profits from the fees be split between the police and fire departments.
That too was defeated.
Voters approved a $12,625,39 operating budget, up 2.4 percent from last year.
Also approved were warrant articles providing $300,000 for the Department of Public Works Equipment Replacement Fund, $100,000 for the Fire Department Vehicle Replacement Fund and $60,000 for a Solid Waste Trailer Replacement Fund.
Voters approved using $62,500 from the town's fund balance for a feasibility study for a new Department of Public Works facility. Town Manager Phil Warren said that a study which was undertaken last year showed that it might be necessary to build at a site other than the current Jenness Hill Road location and that other options would be explored by the new study.
After a brief discussion voters approved a petitioned warrant article for ending the scenic road designation for Blueberry Hill Road on Meredith Neck, Proponents of the change maintained that dead and dying trees along the dead end road posed safety hazards.
Total spending approved at the meeting amounted to $14,168,3 43, with $8,951,293 to be raised by taxes, a $483,513 increase over last year which will result in a 28 cent per thousand increase in the tax rate.

Missing 14-year-old girl found dead

03-10 Alex Caraballo

PIKE — Emma "Alex" Lee Caraballo, a 14-year-old reported missing last week, was found deceased on March 10. Law enforcement is investigating the circumstances of her death, which at this time are not considered to be suspicious. 

Questions can be directed to the office of the Grafton County Attorney at 603-787-6968.