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INMATE HOUSING CONSTRUCTION UNDER WAY
1ST OF GUNNISON FACILITIES TO HOUSE 633; SHOULD BE COMPLETED WITHIN 1 YEAR

Construction has begun on the first inmate housing facility at the regional prison in Gunnison, and about 200 people are employed by several contractors at the site.

The first inmate housing building is designed to provide 633 beds and is expected to be in use within a year. The first prisoners are expected at the prison in May 1990. Two other contracts will be for construction of housing facilities for 1,536 additional inmates.The present contract was awarded to Jacobsen Construction of Salt Lake City at a cost of $19 million. That firm has about 100 workers on the job.

The contractor plans to have the roof completed by October so that work can continue inside during the winter, said Doug Welling, project manager.

Lawrence Construction is working on the administration building, Mahas Construction on the central plant building, and Ward Jones on the warehouse and kennels building. All three are Salt Lake City contractors.

The prison complex will also include food services, laundry, central plant, vehicle maintenance, industries, enforcement building to house the security system and monitors, towers and a gate house.

Ground was broken for the prison May 3, 1988. Work had already begun on grounds preparation at that time by Thoroup Construction of Salt Lake City.

The prison will cost about $70 million by the time it is completed in the late 1990s. To date, $33.9 million has been funded by the Legislature.

Phase II construction will begin in 1994 and will cost about $20 million. The final phase will cost $15 million. A completion date has not been set.

It was reported that the annual projected cost of $10,600 per inmate at the Gunnison facility will be considerably lower than the national average that ranges up to $25,000.

The inmate housing building will be the only two-story unit on the prison site. It will contain 160,000 square feet of space on the ground floor and 75,000 square feet of space on the upper story.

About 250 full-time employees will be hired to operate the initial phase of the prison. That number will increase to more than 700 when the facility is completed and operating at full capacity. The prison will ultimately house about 2,200 inmates.

The operating budget is expected to be about $12 million annually during the first phase. About 70 percent of that will be spent on salaries and fringe benefits for employees. The balance will cover such expenditures as food, medical services and utilities.

About 70 percent of the employees will be hired locally and will be trained during a 10-week program at Gunnison, Ephraim and Richfield. About 25 percent of the employees will be certified police officers who will be required to undergo an additional four weeks of training at the police academy near Draper. About 25 percent of the employees will be women.