- Associated Press - Friday, October 30, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Leaders overseeing the move of Utah’s state prison from Draper to Salt Lake City have hired two consultants to help determine how they’ll manage the project.

Members of the Prison Development Commission decided that they wanted input from professionals who have built facilities as large as the $550 million prison before making a decision, the Deseret News reports (https://bit.ly/1P0zEsY ).

“This is a big project,” said commission co-chair Jerry Stevenson, a Republican state senator from Layton. “We just want to make sure we do our homework.”

The consultants will help the commission decide whether to strike a deal with one contractor or hire multiple firms overseen by a manager.

The manager option would allow construction to start next summer, about a year earlier, and give the state flexibility to hire more local firms, according to Jim Russell with the state Division of Facilities Construction and Management. But it could cost more than hiring a single contractor and take longer.

The commission hired two consultants to help make the choice: Craig Unger of Unger Security Solutions in Maryland and Mike Loulakis of Capital Project Strategies in Virginia.

Each consultant will be paid less than $5,000, said Bryant Howe with Utah’s Legislative Research and General Council Office.

Unger is expected to make a presentation when the commission meets on Nov. 5. The commission has canceled two meetings set for October because he and Loulakis couldn’t attend.

The construction schedule hasn’t been affected yet, but the project could be slowed down if the commission doesn’t choose soon.

“We’re getting to the point where we really need to get that going,” Russell said.

The new prison is set to be built on a wetland-rimmed site about 3 miles west of Salt Lake City International Airport. It was chosen after a contentious process that had critics calling for the facility to stay where it is in Draper, a suburb south of the state’s capital.

Proponents say the project will allow Utah to build a facility with new treatment programs and free up the Draper land near high-tech firms like Adobe and eBay for business development.

Salt Lake City officials fought the move, arguing that the site’s sandy soil could be disastrous in an earthquake and would hurt the local economy. But a commission that chose the site over three others decided it can be stabilized and would be close to hospitals, courts and other urban resources.

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Information from: Deseret News, https://www.deseretnews.com

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