JAFFREY — The Jaffrey Planning Board on Tuesday night unanimously approved a major regional employer’s plan to expand its manufacturing and laboratory facility in town.
Construction will likely begin in six months, MilliporeSigma representatives said at Tuesday’s meeting. MilliporeSigma is seeking to build two additions to its facility at 11 Prescott Road. In addition to demolishing and recreating a lobby and building a new laboratory space near Turnpike Road, the roughly two-year project will add two hallways at the facility’s rear. Thanks to the planning board’s approval, the company can now move to securing building permits from the town.
The expansion will include a 24,200 square-foot, single-story addition and an 11,600 square-foot, two-story structure.
Specializing in lab equipment and supplies, as well as services to biotech and pharmaceutical companies, MilliporeSigma is a life-science company with corporate offices in St. Louis and Burlington, Mass., and locations across the globe. The Jaffrey facility is dedicated mostly to the production of filters for pharmaceutical applications.
With more than 900 employees, the facility is the largest employer in town and a significant part of the Monadnock Region’s economy.
At Tuesday’s meeting at the Jaffrey town office, John L. Arnold of the Manchester-based law firm Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP, who was speaking on behalf of MilliporeSigma, said the project will improve workflow, but is not intended to increase manufacturing capacity and is not expected to create more jobs.
Pointing to a diagram of the proposed additions, he told the board that the building’s existing laboratories will be consolidated and relocated to part of the new structure. The new hallways in back of the current building will allow the company to reconfigure and add exits to its manufacturing facility.
“All of these enhancements are really designed to improve the layout of the facility, to reconfigure space, to increase efficiency,” he explained. “They’re not (the) kind of expansions you think of in a normal sense.”
The roughly 20-minute hearing garnered no comment from the handful of residents in the room. The board’s deliberation was equally speedy.
The only query of the night came from board member Edward Merrell, who wanted to know if the improvements will mean more hazardous materials will be at the property, but MilliporeSigma representatives said the construction won’t significantly change the amount of these materials onsite.
Other comments from board members concerned anticipated changes to the flow of traffic in the front parking lot.
As the men — representatives from the engineering and law firms working on the project, as well as at least one Millipore employee — gathered the poster boards that included schematics of the planned additions, planning board member Laurel McKenzie had final comments.
“Go forth and build, gentlemen,” she told them.