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Home > Uncategorized > Long Range Master Planning and Site Acquisition Go Hand-in-Hand

Long Range Master Planning and Site Acquisition Go Hand-in-Hand

October 9th, 2009

As the corrections industry expands to cater to the increasing population of inmates, correctional budgets are weighing on state and federal governments as well as privately owned prisons. In fact, this is the biggest budget line item for the majority of states. While methods for controlling the prison population are consistently questioned, making efficient changes during building and expansion processes is essential to driving down costs to handle the swelled inmate population. The most essential part of any building project occurs before a single architect sits down to the drawing board. Taking time to clearly understand current situations, set long-range goals and design for improvement will help both the private and public prisons. Carefully and patiently selecting a site and planning for optimal land use will dramatically cut upfront construction costs and will enhance the future of a facility.

Often times, prison planners desperately want to move the dirt and get the project done quickly to realize a return on investment. Without proper land planning, however, the facility may be up and running only to have significantly reduced site capacity and wasted large amounts of land. Optimizing the prison’s land development plan prior to engaging in facility design can save hundreds of thousands of dollars in construction costs. Focusing on two key actions can make these saving a reality:

  • Footprint optimization: This is the process of understanding the organizational, operational and function requirements for the prison, the site’s opportunities and constraints. Then moving to develop a site plan which minimizes dimensions between the physical elements resulting in a compact “lean” development plan.
  • Share or Eliminate Infrastructure Costs: Negotiating with local municipalities for infrastructure support and contributions can result in significant cost reduction. In some cases, the municipality will offer the infrastructure, land, at no cost in order to obtain the employment and tax revenue.

In the same step, selecting a site and using the land directly affects future growth possibilities and facility effectiveness. Building simply to house the current prison population is a close-minded approach as trends show significant growth. Since 2000, state and federal prison populations have increased at an annual average 4.1 percent. Setting a master plan that works for the current and future population along with facility capacity goals will allow planers and designers to achieve a better gauge on land use. The master plan is derived by:

Indentifying start-up bed capacity target: The right number of beds and cells to optimize start-up cash flow

  • Indentifying right-sized bed capacity growth stages: the most cost-effective capacity expansion size
  • Identifying end-game capacity: the goal for prison population and understanding how the prison can expand to meet end-game capacity while minimizing disruption to existing operations and not jeopardize security
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mwentworth Uncategorized

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