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County Awards Contract for Replacement Women's Jail

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September 15, 2011

The County has awarded a contract for a modern women’s jail on the site of the existing Las Colinas Detention Facility in Santee.

The County’s contract with Balfour Beatty / Barnhart to design and build the approximately 478,000-square-foot facility was signed Thursday.

The $221.5 million contract includes architecture and engineering services, construction, offsite improvements and infrastructure, and demolition of the existing jail.

Funding includes County general funds and an expected $100 million grant from the state. The project incurs no debt financing or interest payments.

“The design-build contract for replacing the existing Las Colinas Detention Facility continues the County’s remarkable record of building major facilities with a combination of grants and cash,” said County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Horn. “This better way of doing business has saved over a billion dollars for taxpayers.” 

The project will be built in two phases starting in spring 2012 and is expected to be completed in late 2015. 

The future detention center will comprise a variety of one and two-story buildings on a 45-acre campus of County-owned land. Inmate housing will be designed for each type of custody need: minimum, medium, and high-security and program-intensive settings.

The facility will have 1,216 housing-unit beds plus 32 mental health and 22 medical patient beds. There will be space for a medical infirmary, food services, visitation, inmate programs, staff services, inmate receiving and transfer, administration, property storage and a warehouse.

With numerous sustainable elements, the jail is designed to achieve a LEED Gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The project’s contractor is a joint venture between San Diego-based Barnhart Balfour Beatty and Balfour Beatty Construction. Kaplan McLaughlin Diaz and HMC Architects will provide architectural services.

The existing jail was originally built for juvenile girls in 1966, converted to adult use in 1977 and today serves as the primary booking and holding facility for women arrested in San Diego County.

Replacement of the Las Colinas Women’s Detention Facility was recommended by the County Grand Jury in 2000 and 2001. The Grand Jury reports highlighted concerns with the age and condition of the existing facility, overcrowding, projected capacity needs, and the need to provide space for programs, counseling, and educational opportunities in order to reduce recidivism. 

In March 2008, the Board of Supervisors approved an application to the State of California for grant funding under Assembly Bill 900, the Public Safety and Offender Rehabilitation Services Act of 2007, to pay for a portion of the new jail. The State of California has announced a conditional award of $100 million.