With Environmental Study Underway, Laconia State School Land May Get Historical Review

Dec 6, 2018

A commission tasked with providing recommendations to the state on possible development of a 200-acre piece of land in Laconia provided progress updates Tuesday.


Planning and design firm NBBJ provided a tweaked proposal for the site, which now includes a mix of starter homes, retail, open spaces and other development.

The presentation also included the idea of converting some of the scenic open land on the site for use as resort-style camping or “glamping” facilities.


Several residents have voiced concerns about what may happen to buildings left over from the site's historical use as home to the Laconia State School, a residential facility for people with developmental disabilities.

"Some of them were residential, some of them were functional. But some of them were agricultural buildings. So a lot of these have aesthetic as well as historical importance," said Jane Whitehead, chairwoman of the Laconia Heritage Commission.  


Gordon Dubois worked at the Laconia State School for decades before it closed.


"There needs to be the story that this was the place where people were dropped off by their family or friends and were segregated and shunned by society for years and years and some died there,” Dubois said.


The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance included the site on its annual list of “Seven to Save” historical sites.


Commission members said a historical study may also be around the corner, if funding can be secured.