ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota House has been busy passing a capital investment package that included $18 million for renovations at Minnesota Correctional Facility-St. Cloud (MCF-SC).
The 128-year-old St. Cloud facility was last renovated about half a century ago when a new dining room was built, before work on a new health center was completed last year thanks to $37 million funded by past bonding resolutions. With the new $18 million from the state, the St. Cloud facility will be able to proceed with the second phase of its project, which will see the renovation of the intake area and updates to laundry and warehouse spaces.
“Our House Bonding bill is focused on the shared priorities of Minnesotans and greatly benefits our part of the state,” said Rep. Tama Theis, R-St. Cloud in a statement.
The bill also included $5 million for an amphitheater and $4.5 million for an armory. “These are critical local projects for our community, and I hope we can get these projects to the finish line this session,” said Theis in a statement.
Additionally, according to a 2018 Capitol Budget spreadsheet, the House Republican plan earmarked $2.7 million for an interior perimeter fence for the facility. MCF-SC officials are also hopeful that sensors and cameras will be included with the inner fence. Ditto, an outside granite wall that is in need of repairs. In all, the Republican bonding plan intends to invest nearly $25 million in Minnesota’s various Department of Corrections projects.
The historic, five-story facility was originally built in 1889 and is the Minnesota Department of Corrections’ oldest facility. In addition to educational programming, MCF-SC runs a barber school and a masonry program. The latter program stands for reason, given the fact that the facility has, within its grounds, an abandoned granite quarry from which inmates quarried stone that was sold by the state (the quarry from which the stone was sourced is the oldest granite quarry in the state). Likewise, much of the prison’s initial structure was constructed from the same local granite and, as such, it’s surrounded by the longest granite wall in the world.