LACONIA — The Belknap County Jail Planning Committee has endorsed the idea of a one-story "community corrections: facility after learning from SMP Architecture that it feasible to place a single-story building on the county-owned land located in front of the current county jail.
SMP President Eric Palson presented a conceptual plan for the proposed facility to the committee Thursday morning which shows the existing jail and the new 64-bed correction facility sharing a "sally port" on the north side.
Public access to the corrections facility would be through a south-facing covered entry which would be reached from a parking lot located off from the current driveway to the Belknap County complex. The proposed site plan also contains a separate entry road into the county complex for service vehicles only, near Lexington Drive, which would separate public traffic from service vehicles for a better traffic flow.
Kevin Leonard of North Point Engineering said that permission from the the city of Laconia would be needed for a new driveway as it is their jurisdiction, not the state Department of Transportation, whose jurisdiction starts north of Lexington Drive. He said that the city in the past has denied access for a driveway to a church, located across North Main Street the road from the county property.
He said that the proposed new driveway has been discussed with Laconia's Public Works Department, which has been receptive to the proposal, and that the Belknap County Commission should notify the city in writing of the plan.
He also said that the county will have to develop a storm water pollution plan for the site to meet Department of Environmental Services standards for alteration of terrain.
Palson said that the preliminary square footage numbers for a one-story facility are 17,620 net and 22,906 gross, which reflects a 30 percent factor for walls, mechanicals and corridors.
When questioned by Belknap County Commission Chairman Dave DeVoy (R-Sanbornton) about the 30 percent factor, Palson said it was best to stick with it until the design had been put through the Computer Assisted Design (CAD ) process to obtain a more accurate number.
He said that Andre Klotz of Bauen Corporation in Meredith will provide cost estimates based on those figures as well as he kind of materials recommended for the project and thee mechanical system.
Project Manager Anthony Mento of SMP said that the cost of improvements to the HVAC system in the current House of Corrections will be included in the overall cost of the project, which Commissioner DeVoy has said should not exceed $7 million.
Not included in the proposed bond issue would be improvements to the old jail, which will hold 30 to 40 inmates in a higher security setting.
DeVoy said that he wants to see a prioritized list of jail renovation projects and their costs, with the thought that some of them can be accomplished by using $300,000 in funds left in the jail planning account and some of the county's $200,000 contingency account.
Ross Cunningham of Alternative Solutions Associates, Inc., a consulting firm hired by the county to develop a plan for a community corrections facility and programs, said that some contractors might be reluctant to undertake some of the proposed renovations without the county developing a comprehensive approach to renovations.
The committee will met again next Thursday at 9 a.m. at the Belknap County Complex to receive updates and fine tune the facility and site plan which is being developed.
The design project has an August 21 completion target date.
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