- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

MITCHELLVILLE, Iowa (AP) - The cost of expanding and renovating the state women’s prison at Mitchellville has now reached a projected $122 million.

The Des Moines Register (https://dmreg.co/1CmjsLA ) reports that some lawmakers were surprised by the new price tag, which is up from the initial estimate of $68 million when the project was approved by former Gov. Chet Culver.

Democrats Sen. Robert Dvorsky, chairman of the Iowa Senate Appropriations Committee, and Sen. Matt McCoy, chairman of a state infrastructure budget subcommittee, both said Monday that they were unaware of the project’s dramatic increase in cost. The lawmakers said they were informed that the prison would cost about $100 million.

Deputy Corrections Director Brad Hier said funding for the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women was approved by the Iowa legislature so the cost, which includes $94.5 million for construction, should not be a surprise.

The renovation cost also includes $8.3 million for architecture and engineering work; $8.2 million for construction and project management; and $11.2 million for equipment, such as generators, security cameras, furniture, and kitchen coolers and freezers. Most of the funds used for the expansion have come from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund and from Culver’s I-JOBS program, a post-recession initiative to build infrastructure and aid the state’s recovery from a 2008 flood.

The first phase of the project was completed in 2013. The second phase is scheduled for completion in September.

The prison northeast of Des Moines has about 650 inmates. The expansion has allowed the state to close a women’s prison unit at Mount Pleasant and designate Mitchellville as the first stop for women entering the state prison system.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com


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