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Hall County's new correctional building set to open this fall
Facility will house fewer inmates than current site
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Dennis Udzinski, deputy warden for Hall County, points out sections of the kitchen on Friday at the construction site of the new Hall County Correctional Institution in Gainesville. - photo by Erin O. Smith

A new home for the correctional institute of Hall County is close to completion after a year of construction.

Plans to renovate or reconstruct the building have been in the works since at least 2013, but the new location is set to open in late November, said Walt Davis, warden for the Hall County Correctional Institute.

It is located between the jail and the old correctional institute on Barber Road in Gainesville.

Lower inmate population numbers mean fewer jail cells. Four cell blocks will house 50 inmates a piece, 40 fewer inmates than before.

Davis cited two reasons for the change: The new facility’s size and location dictated the capacity number, and there are fewer inmates in the system because of Hall County’s criminal justice reform efforts.

A central command center is being built into the infrastructure of the new building, which will allow officers to view surveillance cameras and monitor inmates’ activities.

Inmates currently cost the county $36.42 a day but Davis doesn’t think that number will drastically change with the new building. However, he expects utility and electricity bills to fall significantly.

Davis also added that the total cost will be cut in half — from $6 to $3.2 million — due to use of inmate labor. Inmates work as part of a mobile construction crew all over the county in a variety of projects.

“That is a huge savings for the taxpayers of Hall County. I don’t think there’s ever been a project in the last 10 years where we are building at such a discount,” Davis said.

All prisoners used are from the state’s department of corrections.

All laundry was completed in a different building at the old correctional institute, but the new building has the laundry inside.

Construction for the new 27,000-square-foot building began in June 2014.

IPG Inc. was involved in the design phase of the building and are the sole architectural firm involved in the project.

Hall County is self-contracting for this project.

State prisoners have been housed at the previous location since 1963. The old location had already been remodeled in 1982. It wasn’t remodeled this time due to age and the high price of renovation.

“It truly is just worn out. It runs 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It never shuts down,” Davis said.

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