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KDOC presents plan to rebuild prison to budget committee

by KDOC News — last modified Dec 21, 2017 08:51 AM
Kansas Secretary of Corrections Joe Norwood today presented a proposal to rebuild Lansing Correctional Facility (LCF) to the Legislative Budget Committee. This presentation is the latest in a series related to the construction project at LCF, as the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) seeks legislative approval of the project.

The current LCF facility includes a medium unit built in the 1980s, as well as the original maximum unit that dates to the 1860s. KDOC is proposing that a modern facility be built where the medium facility is currently located.

During the 2017 Legislative Session, the KDOC presented the project concept to the House Transportation & Public Safety Budget Committee on February 8, the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee on March 6, the House Appropriations Committee on March 14, and to the Joint Committee on State Building Construction on March 16. 

A budget proviso set forth the process by which the Department requested bids from vendors and moved forward with seeking approval from the legislature for the preferred bid. This proviso specifically authorizes the Department to seek bids for projects only at the site of the current facility in Lansing. It also specifically mandates that the KDOC operate the facility.

With the passage of the 2017 Omnibus Budget Bill, the legislature granted the Department authorization to pursue bond-financing or lease-purchase agreement.  In addition to the proviso, the Legislative Post Audit Committee also examined the funding mechanisms available, using assumption-based models.

With assistance from the Department of Administration Office of Procurement and Contracts, the KDOC issued the Request for Proposal in accordance with KSA 75-31,102. Two bids were received, both funded by the lease-purchase funding mechanism. KDOC chose to move forward with the lower bid, submitted by CoreCivic.  

CoreCivic proposes to design and construct the new LCF facility within 24 months using Kansas companies. The plan encompasses a net savings of $23.6 million over the life of the lease with staff and building efficiency as the primary drivers. The new construction would replace the deteriorating facility that is inefficient to operate and maintain.

A modernized facility at LCF would allow for efficiency and security upgrades. KDOC currently spends 46 percent of its Capital Improvements Budget on the LCF. The current design of LCF requires an inordinate number of staff for a facility of its size—a demand that the Lansing community struggles to meet, as evidenced by the nearly 20% vacancy rate. The improved working conditions offered by a modern facility will be safer for staff and more attractive to prospective employees.

The proposed agreement with CoreCivic is a 20-year lease term. The facility will revert to the ownership of the State after 20 years at no additional cost. The annual lease payment is $14.9 million with 1.94% escalator, payments that can be made with the savings gained from reduced staffing levels.

The current design of LCF calls for 506 uniformed and 176 non-uniformed staff, at a cost of over $37 million per year. The new design would require 287 uniformed and 84 non-uniformed staff, at just over $20 million.

The proposed design would allow LCF to consolidate many services. Three existing compounds that currently provide duplicated services would be consolidated into two compounds. The new facility would combine the kitchens, dining rooms, clinics, and program areas of the current medium and maximum-security sections of LCF, reducing the number of posts to staff those areas.

CoreCivic is responsible for maintenance of LCF, and is tasked with maintaining a replacement schedule on all capital assets (which includes life cycle replacements and emergency repairs and replacements). The leaser would also covers cost overruns, and lease payments do not start until occupancy.

The proposed facility design includes:

  • Two housing units: a 1,920-bed maximum and medium unit and a 512-bed minimum unit
  • 75% of the cells are 2-person units, 25% are 4-person units
  • Medical Services (improved design for aging population) Food Service, Spiritual Life, and Staff Support areas
  • Indoor and outdoor recreation areas, ample site circulation and parking, and improved lighting and security
  • Modern utility systems that provide significant cost and energy savings
  • Capacity for future expansion
  • Local maintenance staff, locksmiths, and professional services
  • Energy saving shell design with top-of-the-line roofing system, and highly insulated walls systems
  • Security systems include triple-biased magnetic door switches, and enhanced video surveillance systems
  • A layout design which controls the movement of the inmate population

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