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Officials Want Options For Laconia State School Property By Year's End

State of NH

State officials are getting closer to a plan for redeveloping the old State School property in Laconia.

The Legislature created a commission last year to find a reuse for the scenic, 200-acre state property.

It was a prison for almost 20 years, and a home for people with developmental disabilities before that.

The commission put out an interim report this week, saying they'll have a master plan with three redevelopment proposals by the end of the year.

(Read the commission’s interim report to the legislature.)

Right now, the report says they're considering a sports complex, a resort, or housing, possibly connected to nearby state parks and forests.

They say they expect any development will be affected by needed upgrades to roads, utilities and water infrastructure, as well as restoration or removal of existing buildings. 

The commission also plans to spend about $324,000 in state and federal funds on more environmental assessments in the next year.

They say they initial investigations have identified asbestos, petroleum, mold, mercury, coal ash, PCBs, chlorine and other potential hazardous waste in existing structures at the property.

The commission also plans to draft a budget request to the legislature for the next phase of work by this November. Their current budget was laid out by the legislature in 2017. 

A public hearing on final redevelopment options for the site is set for Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. at Laconia City Hall.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.

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