SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – After years of planning and searching for a site, Governor Herbert and others broke ground Wednesday on the newest state correctional facility. The site is off 7200 West and North Temple Frontage, near Interstate 80 West. The project will cost $650 million.
Governor Herbert spoke to a crowd of developers and city officials about the benefits of the construction for the local economy. He said, “If we’re going to do this, let’s make sure we have as much local involvement as possible, especially when it comes to those who will be the architects and sub-contractors, let’s have Utah workers benefit from this project.”
Herbert also spoke to the benefit for inmates and the overall purpose of the move. “I hope we don’t miss in all of the other aspects of this move that this really is about people and people’s lives and what can we do.”
Rollin Cook is the Executive Director for the Utah Department of Corrections. He says the new space will provide new education and rehabilitation possibilities. “It finally gives us the opportunity to have the space finally to conduct programing in a way we haven’t in the past. We’ve often had to do it in our facility in what used to be a closet or even out in the hallways.”
He also says the location is ideal. “Some of the sites that were recommended at times were so far out that it would be difficult to get the different doctors and professionals, therapists, including correctional officers, out to those locations. So to have something that’s close to the main population in Utah is a great advantage.”
The current facility in Draper now holds 3,600 beds. The new prison will have a capacity for up to 4,000 beds, but officials say that number will vary depending on need.
Governor Herbert committed to staying within the $650 million budget. “Our office is going to be very diligent about only spending what we take in and making sure we are fiscally prudent about this process.”