Lawmakers juggle costs of new or remodeled prisonBISMARCK — Remodeling the current State Penitentiary to hold 1,000 inmates would cost $32 million to $45 million less than building a new penitentiary from scratch, but the cost of operating the remodeled prison would cost about $33 million more over 20 years.
By: Janell Cole, N.D. Capitol Bureau
BISMARCK — Remodeling the current State Penitentiary to hold 1,000 inmates would cost $32 million to $45 million less than building a new penitentiary from scratch, but the cost of operating the remodeled prison would cost about $33 million more over 20 years.
That was the latest report Tuesday from consultants who are working with a legislative committee on whether the state should remodel the prison or build anew.
The Criminal Justice Institute has been working with the Legislature’s Correctional Facility Review Committee since last fall.
The CJI consultants said that reusing and remodeling the current prison on the east edge of Bismarck would cost $167.8 million for site work and construction but would not operate as efficiently as a brand new facility.
The new prison could be built at any one of seven proposed sites, with cost estimates of between $199.9 million and $212.75 million.
While the cost to operate a remodeled prison over 20 years would be an estimated $621.7 million, the 20-year operations costs at each of the new sites would be an estimated $588.4 million.
The new construction sites analyzed are: Just east of the current prison, on the grounds of the current minimum security Missouri River Correctional Center in southwest Bismarck, just south of the Bismarck city landfill, just south of the Bismarck airport, or three possible places on state land west of Mandan, a property known as the Sunny Farm. The MRCC and Sunny Farm are the most expensive for construction.
Consultants will make their final recommendation March 3.
Janell Cole works for Forum Communications Co., which owns The Dickinson Press.