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Chillicothe Correctional Center is ‘Facility of the Month’
Published: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 by Lisa Kopochinski, C-T

Editor’s Note: The following article first appeared in the May/June issue of “Correctional News” and is being reprinted with permission from “Correctional News” the official publication of The Construction and Maintenance Institute for Criminal Justice Agencies.

Not only is the new Chillicothe Correctional Center the largest design-build project undertaken by the state of Missouri, it is also one of the most energy efficient, according to planners. The new $105 million women’s prison that opened last year was also completed $15 million under budget on a compressed time schedule, creating significant savings for the State of Missouri while adding much-needed bed space.

The new prison is three times the capacity of the antiquated 1880s state facility it replaces, and it is designed to alleviate overcrowding and accommodate the rapid growth in Missouri’s female inmate population. During the last 10 years, the state’s female prison population increased by 150 percent to more than 2,500 inmates, while the male population increased by 50 percent, according to state officials. The 430,000-square-foot prison incorporates five butterfly-shaped housing units anchored by an expansive central services building and was constructed under a fast-track design-build plan. “The state was able to get 1,636 much-needed beds on line in less than 36 months from appropriation to occupancy,” says John Hequembourg, director of institutional operations for the Division of Facilities Management, Design and Construction for the state of Missouri.

The campus-style development, which spans approximately 60 acres, features six single-story and eight two-story structures. Inmate housing, which includes single-, double- and four-bed cell configurations, consists of four 256-bed general housing units, a 240-bed step-down unit, a 76-bed segregation unit, a 96-bed mental health unit and a 200-bed reception and diagnostic unit. The campus plan supports expanded substance abuse treatment, educational and vocational programming and re-entry services. The site can accommodate an additional housing unit should the need for more beds arise in the future. “Design-build allowed us to save at least a year in the process,” Hequembourg says. “[We] traded the old facility to the city of Chillicothe for the new prison’s site with all utilities. It was a great deal for the state and eliminated the need to find a buyer for an old, tired property.”

The 126,000-square-foot central services building houses a gymnasium, classrooms, culinary arts and kitchen facilities, dining halls and laundry services. The campus also incorporates an administration building, a health center and medical services area with a state-of-the-art mammography and X-ray capabilities, and a training building. Other service and support spaces include a beauty shop and cosmetology laboratory, religious center, library, bakery, and greenhouse facilities. Four-bed general housing is augmented with single- and double-bed step-down, segregation, mental health units. The design team utilized unconventional materials, such as vinyl tile and carpet, wherever possible and incorporated ceramic tile in the showers.

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