Orange County, N.C. Plans Sustainable Jail

ORANGE COUNTY, N.C. — Orange County recently selected Moseley Architects of Charlotte, N.C., to design the new Orange County Detention Facility. The new jail aims to improve both energy efficiency and mental health care for inmates.

While design is still in its earliest phases, the new jail will likely include a number of sustainable features and cost approximately $20 million. It will replace the current Orange County Jail, which was originally constructed in 1925.

The new environmentally friendly facility will be located adjacent to the State Correctional Facility in Hillsborough and will house approximately 144 inmates, a nearly 90-inmate increase in capacity. However, rather than simply building big, the county is also focusing on building smart. Designing for improved daylighting will be one significant improvement, especially for inmates with mental health diagnoses and behavioral disorders.

In addition to potentially integrating green and sustainable systems such as geothermal heating and cooling, energy- and water-efficient fixtures and LED lighting, the jail’s flexible design will also include space for alternative and community integration programs aimed at improving outcomes and reducing recidivism rates, while also taking into account the possibility for future expansion.

“Moseley is focusing its design efforts on a justice facility that delivers both design and operational solutions that safely serve clients well for many years,” said Dan Mace, AIA, lead architect on the project, in a statement.

The county engaged in an extensive, competitive process to select an architect for this project. Moseley Architects was ultimate selected based on its experience designing detention facilities in the southeastern United States, particularly in North Carolina.

“The selection committee was extremely impressed with Moseley’s optimal balance of detention design and community impact by design,” said Sheriff Charles Blackwood in a statement. “I could not be more satisfied and I am excited about this project and the services we will be able to bring to this county.”

“Our overriding principles here have been to find a firm that balances Orange County values with the operational needs of our government, its staff and the inmates,” added Earl McKee, chair of the Board of Orange County Commissioners, in a statement. “Our priority is to keep our citizens safe, while also ensuring that those who are incarcerated are treated humanely.”

The design process will get underway in September 2015 and construction is anticipated to begin in mid-2016.

Moseley, a firm experienced in green correctional design, has completed 67 LEED-certified projects including the LEED Gold Rockingham County Judicial Center in Reidsville, N.C., and the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ LEED-certified Butner Federal Correctional Insitution in Butner, N.C.