DLR Group Awarded Tennessee Justice Facility Project

PIKEVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Correction selected the Orlando office of architecture, engineering, planning, and interiors firm DLR Group to design a new $145 million corrections facility in southeast Tennessee.

The new 420,000-square-foot facility will house 1,444 new medium- and minimum-security beds located on a 75-acre site adjacent to an existing 971-bed DOC facility in Bledsoe County.

In contrast to a stand-alone development, co-locating the new facility with the existing Southeastern Tennessee State Regional Correctional Facility will generate operational efficiencies and economies and streamline support operations, officials say.

“DLR Group is poised to meet the state’s mission to build an economical facility,” says Timothy Gibson, AIA, principal at DLR Group’s Orlando, Fla., office. The existing institution also provides an experienced staff base that will help to facilitate a safe, secure and efficient operational transition.
Adapted from a prototype used on the new Morgan County Regional Correctional Facility, the design of the new Bledsoe facility was downsized by 100,000 square feet. The Morgan facility, which is located in Wartburg, Tenn., is scheduled for completion by the end of 2008.

“The design of the facility recognizes and addresses the needs of both the inmate population and staff to create an efficient and safe corrections environment,” Gibson says.

With a focus on reducing recidivism, the new facility will incorporate approximately 40,000 square feet of programming space dedicated to inmate education and treatment.

“The integration of appropriate programming space was an important element in the design of this project,” Gibson says.

Infrastructure considerations presented a significant challenge during project development and the design team upgraded on-site and regional utility infrastructure to support the expanded capacity and operations associated with the development.

“This project represents a great opportunity to help the state meet its housing needs and to provide benefits for the surrounding community,” Gibson says. “We’re looking at a development that is almost residential in type.”

The nontraditional approach adopted by state officials on the Bledsoe development stretches beyond innovative facility design, adaptation and problem solving to project development and management.

“Usually, states tend to utilize a hard design-build model for these kinds of projects,” Gibson says. “This is one of the first projects in Tennessee to adopt the construction-manager-at-risk model.

“This is also the first time that an out-of-state design team has been awarded such a contract,” he says.

Construction on the Bledsoe project will start in 2009 and is scheduled for completion in summer 2011.

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