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Groundbreaking for new Unitil plant in Exeter starts off with a ‘boom’


EXETER, NH — Unitil, a local provider of natural gas and electricity, was joined by state and local officials, business leaders, and employees for the groundbreaking ceremony of its planned 54,000-square-foot regional facility in Exeter on Oct. 3, which included a spectacular explosion to break ground [see YouTube video above].

The new plant will be located on the soon-to-be renamed Energy Way just off Exit 9 on Rt. 101, a location selected specifically to help facilitate swift response to outages throughout Unitil’s seacoast service region.

Procon project leads join Unitil execs as they dig their ceremonial shovels into the ground to mark the start of a major construction project in Exeter. From left, Ross Mortimer, Bob McCarthy, Matt Wirth, Chris Powers, John Closson, Tom Meissner, Jacquie Agel, Dan Messier, Mike Lawrence, Dale Chase, Connor Spotts, Jimmy Lehoux, and Paul Roy.

Once complete it will serve as the new home to Unitil’s seacoast electric distribution operations as well as its forestry, engineering and centralized electric dispatch teams. During major weather events, the facility will also serve as the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for the region and will support preparation, damage assessment, public safety, and restoration efforts as the hub of local operations.

“Our new facility here in Exeter will be central to our ongoing mission to safely and reliably provide electric service to our customers here in the New Hampshire coastal region,” Unitil CEO Tom Meissner said. “The Town of Exeter has been a great partner of ours for many years, and we are thrilled to be calling it home for our electric operations.”

Rendering of the Unitil project, planned for completion in 2020. Courtesy Graphic

Unitil selected Manchester-based PROCON as the designer and construction manager for the project. Plans call for a two-story office building with a warehouse, garage space for bucket trucks and other operations vehicles, a vehicle wash bay, and workshop/lab spaces for other departments.  Plans also include a designated testing and training room as well as a newly constructed outdoor pole training area, both of which are designed to help employees stay on top of the latest in safety techniques and operational best practices.

“Our PROCON design team worked together to include all of Unitil’s needs, and remain cost-effective. So, I know that Unitil employees will be very happy with the finished project. I also want to thank the Town of Exeter, which has been outstanding to work with again – a true working relationship, said PROCON Director of Development Paul Roy.

The building is expected to open for business in summer 2020.

PROCON is a single-source, architecture, engineering and construction management firm serving commercial developers throughout the Northeast. For more than 80 years, the 4th generation Company has been built on integrity, lasting partnerships, and a steadfast commitment to client success. The Company’s one-stop-shopping approach to design, engineering and construction services means that at PROCON, every solution is just down the hall.


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