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January 01. 2014 8:14PM

New Hampshire armories are running out of room


An artist rendering of the new armory planned for Littleton. 

LITTLETON — Space shortages at New Hampshire’s post-World War II-era armories are forcing the New Hampshire National Guard to expand those older buildings to accommodate more personnel, today’s larger military vehicles and more sophisticated armament, a Guard colonel said this week.

Included are the tractor-trailer units required to haul long rockets, Col. David Mikolaities said Tuesday.

“In addition to more personnel, and they don’t fit in the buildings, we now have massive trucks. And instead of the Jeeps we used to have when these armories were built, we now have Humvees,” he said.

Mikolaities said the New Hampshire’s armories were designed for Cold War-era needs and had not been updated since they were built.

In the past year, however, expansion work was completed at an armory in Milford, and plans are going forward for another in Portsmouth.

Also on the list is the Littleton Armory on Meadow Street, known formally these days as the Littleton Readiness Center.

That, Mikolaities said, is the home of the National Guard’s 744th Force Support Company, a supply and maintenance unit.

But it’s not its only home. The force is so large and the armory so small that Guard members are also stationed at an armory in Hillsborough, according to Mikolaities.

“It’s a huge unit; personnel don’t fit in one armory,” said Mikolaities, adding that Guard brass does not give out specific troop numbers for security reasons.

So the Department of Defense has authorized and will fund a $1.2 million, 4,500-square-foot expansion for the building that’s 11,000 square feet in size now.

Mikolaities said the goal is to break ground in Littleton by fall. But there’s a catch.

The old armories are considered historic buildings and are subject to regulations regarding their alteration. That hasn’t been a problem at most expansion sites where the work has taken place, or will occur, on the side of the buildings.

But in Littleton, planners are restricted by the size and shape of the property, and construction is planned for the building’s front. So the Guard is working with the state’s Division of Historical Resources to come up with an appropriate construction plan.

The effort includes a period of public input.

Through Jan. 19, residents can view plans and documents at the Littleton town offices and forward their comments and suggestions to National Guard officials at the State Military Reservation Building in Concord.

Bedford-based Dignard Architectural Services — which designed the Milford expansion — also worked on the Littleton project.

bhookway@newstote.com



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