County approves bid for detention center study
— The Queen Anne’s County Commissioners approved a bid for the completion of a needs assessment, feasibility study and a master plan outline for upgrading the county’s detention center during the April 11 meeting.
The county received two bids for the project: ATI, Inc., from Columbia, Md., in the amount of $29,000 plus reimbursable; and Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates (CRA) Architects, from Towson, in the amount of $40,000.
Funding for this project was included in the Detention Center’s Fiscal Year 2017 operating budget in the amount of $40,000.
The commission, on staff recommendation, awarded CRA the contract to plan for improvements in layout, services and function as well as complete a feasibility study the county can use to potentially receive 50-50 State grant funding for further work.
The county went with CRA over ATI, Inc., because of its extensive resume in correctional facility work throughout various aspects of projects, such as evaluation and design of renovation projects as well as new construction projects, Chief Engineer David Remaniak said.
Warden Lamonte Cooke said on April 25 the detention center celebrated its 30th year in existence, telling the commission he remembered the night the facility took in its first inmate.
Though over the years the facility hasn’t had many major problems, “we’re at a point now we need to make some improvements,” Cooke said.
With the building beginning to show its age, Cooke said, more space is needed for further programing, expansion of its kitchen and a larger area to conduct medical evaluations and “all of these other things that come with the responsibility of operating a facility.”
The work will include a feasibility study and look both at operations and the physical location that would be included in a master facility plan.
Commissioner Steve Wilson said one of the main problems is that the building averaged less than 50 people for many years but has since eclipsed 100 inmates without adding to the facility.
“We grew beds but we didn’t grow the core and now we’ve got to go to work on that,” Wilson said.
Wilson also said expanded space leads to further opportunities to train inmates so when they get out they can receive a job. He said having programing for HVAC or electrical training, for example, could reduce the facility’s recidivism, thus reducing the cost the county has to spend per inmate per year.
Commissioner Mark Anderson applauded the detention center staff for its management over the years and the skilled workforce in the building.
Public Works Director Todd Mohn, Chief Engineer David Remaniak and Warden Lamonte Cooke spoke to the county commissioners about two bids it received for work regarding a feasibility and needs assessment study for the detention center during the commission’s April 11 meeting.