Sig Sauer Academy is proposing a new $13.5 million building described as a “showpiece” for the firearms training complex in Epping that will include an indoor shooting range with 30 lanes.
Project officials and representatives from Sig Sauer pitched the proposal at an Epping Planning Board meeting Thursday, but no decisions were made as some voiced concerns about the potential for more noise that could get neighbors fired up.
“I can’t imagine what it’s like for the neighbors and I’m miles away from you,” board member Susan McGeough told Sig Sauer officials.
The project is called the “Sig Sauer Experience” and calls for the construction of a two-story, multi-purpose building at the entrance to the facility at 233 Exeter Road.
The building will be considered the “showpiece” at the entrance, said Tom Burns, senior project manager with TFMoran Inc., the civil engineering firm working on the plan.
It will feature a combination of retail and office space, classrooms, a museum dedicated to Sig Sauer’s history, and the indoor shooting range.
“It’s a continued expansion of their site and their operations to continue to provide quality firearms training and retail options at the site, and again it’s an indoor range versus some of their outdoor ones, so relative to noise this is something that’s contained in the building,” Burns said.
The complex currently has 20 indoor lanes with approximately 16 individual outdoor ranges, according to Jeff Chierepko, Sig Sauer’s senior director of U.S. facilities.
The plan was proposed a week after the Brentwood Planning Board gave conditional approval for a plan to construct a new building with four classrooms, break rooms, restrooms and showers. That building will be built on the Brentwood side of the campus.
The Epping proposal was presented to Gov. Chris Sununu as well, Chierepko said, adding that he was “excited” about the economic impact as it’s estimated to bring some 20,000 visitors to the area from outside of New Hampshire.
Bruce Blazon, a design builder working on the project, said the new indoor range will allow Sig Sauer to move more of the outdoor training indoors, which should result in a “substantial reduction” in noise on the campus.
“If a class is normally held outdoors and is moved inside that will be a cessation of outdoor noise,” he said, adding that the building will be “state-of-the-art” with solid masonry construction that will hold the sound inside.
Planning board vice chairman Heather Clark and fellow board member McGeough expressed concern about the additional noise if the new indoor range is built and the outdoor ranges continue to be used.
“There is constantly an ask for an addition. There are neighbors who complain about the noise and yet we’re not seeing any sort of accommodations or reduction in what you currently have, just additions,” she said.
Board chairman Joseph Foley suggested the possibility of restricting the hours of the outdoor range to help reduce the noise if the new indoor range is approved.
Clark and McGeough were supportive of the idea of restricted hours, which Chierepko said he would bring back to Sig Sauer officials to discuss further.
The board is expected to revisit the proposal at its December meeting.