The Bulletin Board

State seeking $13 million to relocate Lakes Region backup 911 center, fire dispatch

By: - November 14, 2022 11:07 am
A building on the grounds of the former Lakes Region Facility, with razor wire atop a chain-link fence

The state Department of Corrections used the site as a minimum- and medium-security prison until 2009. Since then, most of the buildings have been vacant. (Alan MacRae | New Hampshire Bulletin)

With a potential buyer interested in the former Laconia State School, the Department of Safety has asked lawmakers for permission to use $13 million in federal pandemic aid to relocate the backup 911 center and a fire dispatch agency located on the site. 

Under the plan, the state would build a new facility for the emergency call center and Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid. The Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee is scheduled to take up the request Friday.

The state Department of Administrative Services announced late last month that after years of trying to sell the 220-acre site, it had found a buyer interested in redeveloping the property into a campus that includes housing, entertainment venues, and medical services. The department has not yet identified the buyer or disclosed the selling price. 

The property was most recently home to the Lakes Region Facility prison. It’s mostly vacant. Aside from crumbling buildings abandoned by the prison and Laconia State School, the only ones using the property are the 911 backup center and the Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid, which dispatches for 35 towns. 

Without money from the state, Chief Jon Goldman has estimated rebuilding the dispatch center would cost member towns at least $7 million.

The Executive Council must also approve the Department of Safety’s request.

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Annmarie Timmins
Annmarie Timmins

Senior reporter Annmarie Timmins is a New Hampshire native who covered state government, courts, and social justice issues for the Concord Monitor for 25 years. During her time with the Monitor, she won a Nieman Fellowship to study journalism and mental health courts at Harvard for a year. She has taught journalism at the University of New Hampshire and writing at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications. Email: [email protected]