Occupancy Begins at $120 Million Missouri Prison

Chillicothe Center Expected to Have Lower Energy Costs, Alleviate Overcrowding

CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — The state Department of Corrections successfully transferred more than 1,100 female inmates in December to the new $120 million Chillicothe Correctional Center.

The new prison is designed to house 1,636 female offenders in an energy-efficient, campus-style facility, and will help to take some of the pressure off the beleaguered correctional center in Vandalia, the only other women’s prison in the state, according to officials.

The new facility is designed to match Missouri’s female inmate population growth, which has skyrocketed during recent years. The state’s female prison population has increased by 150 percent to 2,502 inmates during the past 10 years, compared to a 50 percent increase in the male population.

The new center is part of a partnership between the city of Chillicothe and the state and will allow the state to transfer ownership of the former Chillicothe prison, an 1800s-era building designed to house 525 inmates, to the city. The Vandalia facility, which frequently housed as many as 600 prisoners over capacity, will returned to its design capacity of 2,000 inmates.

A Secure, Healthy Design

A collaborative design-build effort among DLR Group, KAI Design/Build and JE Dunn Construction, the new 126,000-square-foot prison is located on a 55-acre site north of Kansas City. The campus is composed of six single-story and eight two-story structures that encompass 432,057 square feet.

Sustainability was a priority for the department and the project team, in an effort to provide a healthy work environment for staff and lower the burden on taxpayers by reducing energy costs. Several energy-saving technologies were incorporated into the center’s design that will allow it to operate at lower energy costs than any other prison in the state, officials say.

Energy-efficient features include a high-efficiency boiler system, high-performance HVAC controls and energy-saving lighting systems.

Public and staff safety was also a priority on the project. More than 400 security cameras are located throughout the campus, allowing public areas to be monitored 24 hours a day. Other security features include a perimeter road and adequate sight lines inside and outside the facility.

To promote a healthy working and living environment, a host of amenities are available to inmates and staff, including a beauty shop, religious center, library, bakery, cosmetology lab, gymnasium and greenhouse. Other services include classrooms, kitchen facilities, dining halls and laundry services.

Ahead of Schedule

Despite challenging weather and a pressing timeline, the project team, which also included R&N Consultants Design, HNTB Civil Engineering and Hockenbergs Food Service Equipment and Supply Co., completed the Chillicothe center one month ahead of the 24-month schedule.

Construction started in September 2006 and finished July 2008, forcing the design-build team to work through two years of extreme winter and summer seasons.
General contractor JE Dunn, which performed precast erection, concrete pouring and masonry services, used a system of ground heaters to warm the soil enough during the coldest temperatures to pour concrete and keep the project ahead of schedule.

In addition to enhancing public safety, the new center will also add 300 more jobs to the community. The prison will employ approximately 562 individuals, including those who operated the former facility, at an estimated annual payroll of $16 million.