CONNELLSVILLE (KDKA) — The aging Fayette County Prison’s days are numbered.

Commissioners voted 2-1 Tuesday to replace the 124-year-old facility with a new state-of-art facility at a cost of $31 million.

“The decision we made today was basically the lowest cost solution to the problem given various options that we looked at,” Fayette County Commissioner Al Ambrosini said.

Commissioners Ambrosini and Vince Zapotosky voted in favor of the prison, Angela Zimmerlink voted against it.

“Specifically, the three county commissioners failed to sit down and discuss any options,” said Zimmerlink. “I made a motion that we do that and have a meeting on Monday. I did not garner a second.”

Commissioners hired an architectural firm to design the prison and also approved a location.

The new facility will be built on land already owned by the county, adjacent to the Fayette County Fairgrounds.

“The fact that we hired an architect to work with to build the most efficient and cost-effective facility we can possibly build is a great start, and I’m pretty happy about it,” said Ambrosini.

The new facility comes amid extreme overcrowding at the prison that causes some prisoners to sleep on cots in common areas.

Overflow prisoners are sent to counties across western and central Pennsylvania at a cost of around $1.5 million this year alone.

During a recent evaluation, the current facility was found to be at only 43 percent compliance with American correctional facility standards.

Commissioners today also voted to lease a building on Iowa Street to use as a women’s facility until the new prison is complete.

The new prison is not expected to cause an increase in taxes. It will be funded in part by monies paid to the county from Marcellus Shale and the casino.

The new correctional facility is expected to be complete by November 2015.

Fayette County Officials Weigh Building New Prison (9/25/13)
Aging Fayette Co. Prison In Need Of Upgrade (10/3/13)
More Fayette County News
More Reports by Trina Orlando

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