Native American factory to get a new life—as a jail

August 11, 2010

Plans to transform a former factory into a new correctional facility in Wagner, S.D., will begin to take shape next month, as the unusual project breaks ground.

Working with the Yankton Sioux Tribe, Minneapolis-based KKE Architects decided to reuse the existing structure, whose history was sentimental to the tribe. Reusing the existing shell also meant more building funds could be allocated to improve functional areas, according to Randy Lindemann, principal in charge of KKE's Justice Unit.

Once completed in an estimated 12-16 months, the facility will house up to 43 adult and juvenile inmates and will also serve as a juvenile treatment center.

Transforming a factory into a secure, impenetrable space was a challenge for the Building Team, says Lindemann.

"We had an existing concrete block building that held exactly none of the barriers we needed," says Lindemann. Thermal, fire, and security barriers were required for the building to serve as a correctional facility.

To create a thermal barrier to protect the building from South Dakota's frigid winters, the team will clad the existing wall with an exterior insulation finish system. For fire protection, a combination of two layers of gypsum board above a secure metal ceiling will be installed.

Several security measures will be utilized. An expanded 3/8-inch hardened steel lath that can't be cut or removed by ordinary tools will be mechanically fastened to the interior face of the existing wall. For added security, the lath will be installed in 4x8-foot sheets with joints overlapping eight inches horizontally and vertically. The existing non-load-bearing wall will function as a backup security measure.

Individual cells will be constructed using concrete-filled modular metal wall panels. Six-inch concrete floor slabs will be reinforced with metal security bars that run in an eight-inch grid pattern to complete the six-sided security requirement.

"If an inmate were to try to escape, he'd have to get through a two-inch concrete-filled metal wall, 3/8-inch hardened metal lath then eight inches of concrete block and exterior stucco," says Lindemann. "We think it's an appropriate level of security for this population type—a medium-level treatment facility for adults and juveniles."

Though bids have yet to be placed, Lindemann said the project will cost an estimated $5 million.

         
 

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