Fast Forward

Not only is the new Chillicothe Correctional Center the largest design-build project undertaken by the state of Missouri, it is also one of the most energy efficient, according to planners.

The new $105 million women’s prison that opened last year was also completed $15 million under budget on a compressed time schedule, creating significant savings for the State of Missouri while adding much-needed bed space.

The new prison is three times the capacity of the antiquated 1880s state facility it replaces, and it is designed to alleviate overcrowding and accommodate the rapid growth in Missouri’s female inmate population.

During the last 10 years, the state’s female prison population increased by 150 percent to more than 2,500 inmates, while the male population increased by 50 percent, according to state officials.

The 430,000-square-foot prison incorporates five butterfly-shaped housing units anchored by an expansive central services building and was constructed under a fast-track design-build plan.

“The state was able to get 1,636 much-needed beds on line in less than 36 months from appropriation to occupancy,” says John Hequembourg, director of institutional operations for the Division of Facilities Management, Design and Construction for the state of Missouri.

The campus-style development, which spans approximately 60 acres, features six single-story and eight two-story structures.

Inmate housing, which includes single-, double- and four-bed cell configurations, consists of four 256-bed general housing units, a 240-bed step-down unit, a 76-bed segregation unit, a 96-bed mental health unit and a 200-bed reception and diagnostic unit.

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The campus plan supports expanded substance abuse treatment, educational and vocational programming and re-entry services. The site can accommodate an additional housing unit should the need for more beds arise in the future.

“Design-build allowed us to save at least a year in the process,” Hequembourg says. “[We] traded the old facility to the city of Chillicothe for the new prison’s site with all utilities. It was a great deal for the state and eliminated the need to find a buyer for an old, tired property.”

The 126,000-square-foot central services building houses a gymnasium, classrooms, culinary arts and kitchen facilities, dining halls and laundry services. The campus also incorporates an administration building, a health center and medical services area with a state-of-the-art mammography and X-ray capabilities, and a training building.

Other service and support spaces include a beauty shop and cosmetology laboratory, religious center, library, bakery, and greenhouse facilities.

Four-bed general housing is augmented with single- and double-bed step-down, segregation, mental health units.

The design team utilized unconventional materials, such as vinyl tile and carpet, wherever possible and incorporated ceramic tile in the showers.

On the Fast Track

The design-build project team consisted of lead architect DLR Group of Overland Park, Kan., general contractor JE Dunn of Kansas City, Mo., and KAI Design & Build, an architecture, engineering and program/construction management services firm based in St. Louis, Mo.

KAI provided the design for the central services building, health center, administrative building, mental health housing and the central plant building.

Dwight Wyatt, program manager and senior project architect at KAI, says women’s prisons are similar to all-male facilities, but there are differences.

“Building areas, such as ceilings in supervised areas are not be required to be as hard,” Wyatt says. “The selected interior color scheme is softer and more feminine.” 

The design-build team began working on the Chillicothe project in July 2006. It was originally scheduled to take three years to construct, but the fast-track process allowed completion by July 2008. Inmates began moving in late last year.

“We had the benefit of working hand-in-hand with the precast manufacturer’s structural engineer and designers to get the best construction techniques and details for the buildings,” says Jeff Campbell, senior vice president at JE Dunn.

CCC features four 256-bed general housing units.

In addition to the use of precast shop drawings to complete the building systems design, building information modeling helped expedite the design and construction process.

“By doing the project in this way, we got a more coordinated design that is under budget and ahead of schedule,” Wyatt says. “As a result of recent design tool advances, this process can be improved even further.”

Bill Buursma, a principal at DLR Group’s Seattle office, says the State of Missouri over time has refined several efficient prototypical designs for various component buildings and for site arrangements that foster supervision clarity and compactness.

“It has provided a more social setting for women inmates who cope and behave better in group-living situations,” Buursma says.

Security at CCC is also greatly improved, according to officials. With limited equipment on the buildings’ roofs, there are fewer places for inmates to hide.

Hequembourg says the protection of staff and inmates is much easier to accomplish in a new facility with improved sight lines, better security separations, and more security cameras and recorders.

The master control room is the nerve center of the 60-acre campus-style development that includes six single-story and eight two-story structures.

Complete with state-of-the-art touch-screen technology, virtually all inmate- accessible areas are covered by an extensive camera network.

Energy Efficiency Reigns

In addition to being the largest design-build project undertaken by the state, the central plant houses unique energy-efficient HVAC equipment.

“The plant uses high-efficiency condensing boilers that have the ability to modulate at 20:1 turn-down ratios. Each boiler has the ability to match the heating load between 2 million and 100,00 BTU per hour,” Wyatt says. “In addition, the low nitrous-oxide burners minimize emissions, while maximizing fuel efficiency throughout their complete operating range.” 

A separate boiler control panel optimizes boiler firing rates with the heating loads to provide maximum energy efficiency with precise temperature control.

“Water-cooled centrifugal chillers with variable frequency drive starters provide chilled water from the central plant using the chlorine-free refrigerant R-134A,” Wyatt says. “With operating integrated part load values as low as 0.32 kW per ton, these chillers are among the highest energy-efficient chillers around.” 


Buursma says the biggest technical design challenge was to integrate the overhead hydronic heating pipeline in a loop through the attic spaces of each building that passes overhead from building to building.

Want to see more photos and information on this facility? 
Have a look at this article in the digital edition.

This overhead utility solution was programmed by the state for two reasons: The site has a high water table and the state had encountered a high level of repair and deterioration at similar facilities; and the overhead loop is directly adjacent to attic space mechanical rooms.

“The site design circled all of the buildings to allow very short bridging of these overhead systems from one building to the next,” Wyatt says. “This feature is the most remarkable technical feature of this institution.”

Mother Nature also caused her share of headaches.

“The winter conditions in 2006-07 made it extremely difficult to perform concrete operations with the frozen ground and less than ideal temperatures,” Campbell says.

JE Dunn self-performed the concrete work and overcame this obstacle by mobilizing ground heaters to continue working through the winter months.

The spring rains of 2007 then set the team back further than anticipated.

“We stepped up to the plate by working multiple shifts, while erecting precast to collapse time frames and reduce the overall erection duration,” Campbell says. “This activity paved the way for the subcontractors to follow in behind and complete the overall project ahead of schedule.”

Calling CCC one of the more cost-effective solutions in the range of DLR Group’s prison designs, Buursma says it is constructed with the highest quality materials and mechanical and electrical systems.

“Programmatically, the design is very satisfying to correctional designers because it encompasses foreword-thinking positive correctional features,” he says.