LACONIA — Belknap County Commissioners have approved a request for proposals from architectural firms for a schematic design and cost estimates for a 64-bed community corrections facility.
The RFP, which was approved at the Wednesday morning meeting of the commission, sets a May 8 deadline for submitting proposals with the project to be awarded by May 22 with an anticipated completion date of July 1.
Commissioners agreed with a recommendation by Commissioner Richard Burchell (R-Gilmanton) that the architectural firm which is awarded the project would be paid on a fixed fee basis rather than as a percentage of the cost of the project.
Commission Chairman Dave DeVoy has said that he hopes to bring a bond issue for around $7 million to the Belknap County Convention for approval before the year ends in order to build the new facility, which is modeled on a similar one built in Sullivan County (Claremont) in 2008.
DeVoy said that the yearly payment on a bond issue of that size would be around $550,000, which the county could handle without a tax increase as bonds which are currently costing $600,000 a year in principal and interest payments will be retired in the near future.
The county has $440,000 in jail planning funds set aside in a newly created account in the 2015 budget.
The plan presented Kevin Warwick and Ross Cunningham of Alternative Solutions Associates, Inc. would see 30 treatment beds, 20 for men and 10 for women, and 34 work release beds, 24 for men and 10 for women. The new facility would be built next to the current jail and connected to it through a newly created control room. It would contain 22,327-square-feet and a suggested addition which would include a small 2,500-square-foot gym, 1,500-square-feet of administrative space — all of which would bring the total space to just over 27,000-square-feet.
The facility would be of heavy commercial grade construction and would provide residential minimum security treatment as well as group space for programs.
Other key considerations include a control room replacement for the current facility with a complete security system for a cost of $350,000, as well as upgrade to the HVAC system for the existing jail — with an eye to also having it handle the community corrections facility as well.
The RFP envisions that all work will be completed on the new facility before any renovations are undertaken in the current jail.
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