Shawnee County Jail to Get New Kitchen

TOPEKA, Kan. — Shawnee County Commissioners approved $3.6 million for the Shawnee County Corrections Department to build a new kitchen at the Shawnee County Jail in Topeka.

Construction on the kitchen is scheduled to begin in June, and it will be a new building attached to the current facility. Locally based Kansas Building Systems Inc. will provide design and build services for the new food service facility.

The current kitchen, built in 1987, was designed to cook 600 meals a day. It now averages almost 1,800 meals each day for both the adult and juvenile facilities at the jail, reported The Topeka Capital-Journal. The new kitchen has been designed three times — reduced from 9,000 square feet to 7,500 — in order to meet the budget restrictions. The new kitchen is scheduled for completion by the end of this year.

Shawnee County Corrections Department Director Brian Cole told WIBW that the new facility will go beyond cooking better, nutritional meals. Officers will be able to better manage the department because the inmates will not have complaints about being underfed or lacking quality or tasteless food, which helps with safety and security in the end, he said.

The funding for the project comes from $17.5 million in bonds that the commission approved earlier this year. The commission also approved the corrections department to solicit bids for a $400,000 project — funded by the same bond — that would resurface the shower floors and walls in the adult and juvenile facilities. The showers were initially built in 1987, reported The Topeka Capital-Journal.