- Associated Press - Sunday, June 5, 2016

RAWLINS, Wyo. (AP) - A new report suggests construction problems at the Wyoming State Penitentiary were caused by poor construction techniques that caused portions of the prison to lift, walls to crack and masonry work to crumble.

A task force is examining possibilities for a renovation project for the Rawlins prison or building a new prison at a different location for $170 million. Fixing the problems would cost more than $84 million.

John Lund, principal investigative engineer for Denver-based Martin/Martin Inc., blamed construction techniques that allowed the building to shift.

Task force members are not sure who signed off on these construction techniques. Lund said that as a result of the movement, there has been significant damage to structural and non-structural walls within the prison. Some of the damage has interfered with daily operations at the prison, preventing electrically controlled security doors from functioning properly, he said.

Lund said the problems don’t stop there, the Rawlins Daily Times reported (https://tinyurl.com/gsf66xs ). “In addition to the issues we have with the cracking of the walls and the movement of the slab, we’ve noted extensive leaking of the roof,” he said.

Lund said he’s puzzled because crack monitors installed last year indicate in general there has been very little movement of existing cracks, but new damage has been reported throughout the prison.

If the state decides to fix the current prison, construction workers would have to go back and redo a lot of the original work, he said.

“Of course, when you do that you have to demolish and reconstruct all of the masonry walls that are not structural . which becomes a domino effect (requiring) replacement of all of the mechanical, electrical and security systems,” he said.

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Information from: Rawlins (Wyo.) Daily Times, https://www.rawlinstimes.com

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