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Prison Relocation Commission Extends Deadline for Recommending Site

Brian Grimmett
Citizens against moving the prison to sites located in Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain filled the commitee room.

The commission tasked with finding a new location for the state prison has pushed back its deadline for to October 1st. The Prison Relocation Commission met Thursday morning at the Utah State Capitol and left more questions to answer.

Hired consultants from MGT of America briefed the commission for three hours on the pros and cons of each of the four proposed locations. 

Brad Wilson is Co-Chair of the PRC. He says land sale negotiations are still underway, so the commission still needs information about land prices for instance and long term utility costs.

“We’re going to see what other information the PRC members want as they make a decision and we’ll get that information,” Wilson says. “I think we left our consultants with a dozen things we want them to go back and do and that will be part of the consideration as well.”

The locations under consideration are in Salt Lake City near the airport, Grantsville in Tooele County, and Eagle Mountain and Fairfield in Northern Utah County.

Consultants outlined the significant logistical problems with rebuilding the prison at its current location in Draper. MGT Consultant Brad Sassatelli says there’s not enough room to rebuild in place and it would be a serious security risk to staff, inmates, volunteers and contractors.

“So in my mind, the complications and the difficulty of trying to build on the site is just almost insurmountable,” Sassatelli says. “It would be difficult to do and it would be costly and it would cause huge issues for the department of corrections.”

Commission members say the actual price of the land may be insignificant once the cost of utilities and other elements are factored in. The group is expected to meet at least one more time before making a recommendation on October 1st. The governor will then call a special session of the legislature to confirm the decision. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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