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Architects Unveil Design Plans For New Prison

GSBS Architects
Potential rendering of the new state prison, which is expected to be completed by 2020.

Utah’s new prison is expected to give inmates a more “normative” environment than currently exists at the prison in Draper.

GSBS Architects was picked to design the new 4,000-bed prison west of the Salt Lake International Airport in Salt Lake City. The firm updated the state’s prison development commission Monday on the progress that’s been made. GSBS architect Kevin Miller says building a prison system for both men and women at all levels of custody means the programming will inform the design.

That includes cells that are built to accommodate the inmate’s custody level.

“The kind of bed that we need for a maximum security inmate is a very different bed than we need for somebody that’s very close to parole,” Miller says.

There are expected to be more windows, with views to the outdoors and sky. Inmates will have more personal storage. The exterior of the building will also look unlike a traditional prison.  

Miller says they’re planning to create dining halls as opposed to having inmates eat in the day rooms, just outside of their cells.

“That’s not a normal environment and we’re trying to change the way these guys and gals think of their lives by creating a more normative environment,” Miller says. “So, you’re going to get up out of your cell unit and you’re going to go to a dining hall and make choices about your food and eat with other people.”

The prison is estimated to cost $550 million and be completed around 2020. The state is expected to close on the property by October 28th

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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