By Patrick Cronin
Hampton Union, Tuesday, September 28, 2004
HAMPTON - The state wants to move the district court out of the town-owned building on Winnacunnet Road and its asking the town for its help.
Town Manager James Barrington said he received a call from court clerk John Clark saying the state wants to find a temporary location to house Hampton District Court while it moves forward with a plan to construct a new courthouse.
The movement was spawned when employees complained about the conditions of the century-old building.
The building, which was originally a school and then a firehouse, is not handicapped-accessible.
Last month, the building was sprayed after it became infested with fleas. There is also mold growing in the basement and employees are complaining about allergies.
"By cooperating with the state, it will give us a lot more consideration in building the new courthouse in Hampton," Barrington said. "They have indicated interest in staying in Hampton and having the new courthouse built here."
Barrington said the town's offer to donate the land where the current Hampton District Court lies, as a site to build the new courthouse, is still on the table.
Town officials said they have identified four locations to temporarily house the district court:
* Maranatha Church on High Street.
* The vacant former Newick's building on Lafayette Road.
* Office space in Merrill Industrial Drive.
* The Employer Benefit Plan Administration building on Drakeside Road.
"We will invite them to come down and take them on a tour to see the various properties and let them tell us what will best serve their needs," Barrington said.
Barrington said he wasn't surprised the state wants to get out of the building on Winnacunnet Road.
"Everybody has known that building is inadequate," said Barrington. "I hate to have the town viewed as a slumlord. We know it's not a good building. We know that it's not a place where we want our district court."
The town leases the building to the state for $2,272.08 per month. It spends $16,800 a year in maintaining the building.