RW Constructs Inmate Housing for a New Federal Penitentiary in Southern Mexico

CHIAPAS, Mexico — Rotondo Weirich’s Latin American company, RW Antares, contracted with general contractor Arendal, for the precast modular housing units for the Secretaría de Seguridad Pública’s (SSP’s) new federal penitentiary in Chiapas, Mexico.

The 1,232-cell project was successfully constructed by RW setting up manufacturing onsite for all cell units, which eliminated transportation fees, reduced risk associated with schedule, and allowed for the company tap into the local labor force.

RW mobilized cranes and forming equipment from the United States to Chiapas, where the forms were assembled and the onsite production facility was built. RW Antares coordinated the transportation of more than 75 truckloads of outfitting materials to the site, consisting of correctional plumbing, lighting, furniture, window and door components, and security glass.

Jim Taddei, RW project executive, worked and lived in Chiapas for several months, and he couldn’t say enough about the team’s dedication.

“The work ethic of the team was excellent, they worked constantly in 90 to 100 degree temperatures. Each day on their breaks, they would all bring in different foods and huddle up in groups to share whatever they had with each other. While they were working they always looked out for one another and would help each other with the task at hand; their teamwork was something to be commended. We would show them how to do something one time and they would pick it up and perform it correctly from then on.”

Located in a very remote and highly seismic area of Southern Mexico, the project posed some unique challenges. Dealing with different materials and extreme heat conditions, new solutions had to be developed for everyday processes such as cooling the concrete and working through the language barrier.

In the end, the 376 fully-finished precast modules (1,232 cells) were set in their permanent place in just 26 days.

“While this was one of the most technically challenging projects that RW has ever endured — through team work, dedication, ingenuity, and patience the project turned out to be an enormous success,” said Bill Franklin, RW’s director of business development. “We are looking to build on the momentum of this first project in Latin America. By offering our experience, technologies and network to this market we are offering a total prison housing solution to provide turn-key, state-of-the-art facilities.”