Women’s prison expansion approvedPlans for a $1.3 million expansion and remodel of Dakota Women’s Correctional and Rehab Center in New England were approved Monday morning, officials said.
By: By Ashley Martin , Forum Communications Co. , The Jamestown Sun
Plans for a $1.3 million expansion and remodel of Dakota Women’s Correctional and Rehab Center in New England were approved Monday morning, officials said.
Construction may begin in two weeks, said Duane “Bucky” Wolf, chairman of the Southwest Multi County Correction Board.
“It helps us meet our contract with the state better and it also makes for better working conditions and … it adds safety,” Wolf said.
The new construction will be about 2,720 square feet, said Sam Augare, plant services director for the prison. An estimated 1,045 square feet of the existing facility will be remodeled, he added.
However, the remodel will affect most of the correction center, because it includes an update of the fire alarm system and replacement of windows and doors, Augare said.
Not only will the new windows and doors be more secure, they’ll increase the energy efficiency of the building.
“It’s a win-win situation all around,” he added
More security cameras will be added, which will take care of existing blind spots, Augare said.
The new construction area will house the control room and visitation area, along with serving other functions, he said.
“It should make things quite a bit easier,” Augare said. “Now the control will be able to pretty much operate everything, like how the inmates flow through the facility.”
Prison staff will also have better control of the facility, he added. Operations inside the corrections center shut down while a new inmate is taken in and processed, which won’t have to happen after the project, Augare said.
The existing control room is about 12-by-10 feet, he estimated. The addition will make that department about three times larger, Augare said.
The control room will also be stocked with new equipment, which will cost upwards of $100,000 Augare said.
“This will be state of the art,” Wolf said.
The expansion will also make the visitation area more secure, Augare said.
“When the inmates go in to see them, we’ll be able to control that flow of them going in to see their family easier too,” Augare said. “We’ll have it set up so when we post an officer in there, they’ll have a better view of everybody.”
Extra security for the prison will be hired during the remodel process, said Connie Monson, SWMCCC financial administrator. Those positions may become permanent, although that hasn’t been determined, Augare said.
The renovation and remodel of the state-funded facility has been planned for four to five years, Monson said.
“It’s money that has been appropriated throughout the years of operations for renovations to the facility,” Monson said.
The project will affect all of the facility’s more then 50 employees, she added.
“All employees that come in, all visitors, come through the same entrance,” Monson said. “It has a huge impact on the people in the control room because they’re constantly having to let people in and out.”
Ashley Martin is a reporter at The Dickinson (N.D.) Press, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.