CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has released an analysis of locations for a new secure, therapeutically-oriented youth development center as described in HB 49.
SMRT Architects and Engineers conducted the assessment to determine the feasibility of three potential sites using a set of standardized criteria. Based on their analysis, the State has determined that the Hampstead Hospital and Residential Treatment Facility (HHRTF) would best accommodate the needs of a small but highly complex population of young people who require placement in a secure facility.
The future youth development center will have 18 beds, educational and administrative space, indoor and outdoor recreation areas and support services. According to the language in HB 49 $21,600,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2023 has been appropriated to DHHS for the design and construction of the new secured youth development facility.
SMRT, which has experience building similar juvenile justice facilities in other states, engaged in on-site inspections and data analysis to consider three properties currently owned by the State of New Hampshire: the campus of the existing youth development site in Manchester, Londergan Hall at the Hugh Gallen State Office Park South in Concord, and Hampstead Hospital and Residential Treatment Facility in Hampstead. Each location was assessed by the following measures: site size, ability for shared services, access, utilities, compatible adjacent uses, style and feel of the surrounding environment, proximity to external support services, and proximity to population centers.
“New Hampshire is moving quickly to build a new youth development center that is designed for the future of juvenile justice to provide the best outcome for our kids,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “Creating operational efficiencies is key to meeting that goal, which is just what locating the center in Hampstead would do.”
“I want to thank SMRT for a thorough analysis of the three potential locations for a new youth development center,” said DHHS Interim Commissioner Lori Weaver. “This is an important first step in a process that will be collaborative between state officials and local stakeholders. The Department looks forward to sharing the analysis with the Commission to Study Community Impacts of the Secured Youth Development Center as part of its work to ensure a new youth detention facility meets the health and safety needs of youth, families and communities.”
Based on conventional site feasibility characteristics, as well as the unique needs of the population served, the Hampstead site was determined to be the most appropriate location for a youth development center. With its wooded setting on 84 acres, the Hampstead site offers a therapeutic and secure environment. The location ensures sufficient separation from the existing hospital and residential treatment facility, while its proximity to these peer facilities and the similar age of residents creates the potential for shared services such as food services and laundry. The potential development areas are located within the interior of the site and offer sufficient natural barriers and distance from abutting properties and the HHRTF facility. The location is a reasonable distance to local fire and police, major hospitals and courthouses. It is also situated in the southern part of the state near major population centers, with strong employee recruitment potential.
DHHS was authorized to construct a new facility to replace the current youth development center per HB 49. This site evaluation study is the initial step in the process of constructing a new facility. DHHS will submit the Site Assessment Report to the Commission to Study Community Impacts of the Secured Youth Development Center, recently established by SB 1, as it studies the impact of a new youth development center on surrounding communities and engages with the Department and an architectural firm on a collaborative design process.
The Site Assessment Report can be accessed at https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/sites/g/files/ehbemt476/files/documents2/2304-nhydc-report.pdf