SALT LAKE CITY — The purchase of 323 acres for construction of a new state prison has been completed. The $12.4 million purchase price is lower than the anticipated $30 million cost, state officials announced Friday.
Now that the land purchase has been completed, construction of a new correctional facility is scheduled to begin later this year and will require approximately four years to complete.
The acreage includes land for facilities and infrastructure, is in a portion of the west parcel of the Salt Lake City site selected by the Prison Relocation Committee last summer, which is near I-80 and 7200 West.
“Since the first studies on a new correctional facility began more than 10 years ago, our priority has been to ensure the best use and return on every dollar spent,” Gov. Gary Herbert said in a prepared statement.
“The new facility will provide for the most modern, effective and efficient criminal justice system in the country; a prudent system that will keep our communities safe, reduce recidivism and respect the taxpayer,” he said.
According to the state Division of Facilities Construction and Management, the land purchase was carefully studied for potential environmental constraints, construction and infrastructure costs, and compatibility with adjacent land uses, and was found to be the best specific area in the Salt Lake City site.
The site assessments and careful study on how to protect wetlands and other environmentally sensitive areas on the site resulted in the state being able to purchase far less land than anticipated, the division said in a press release issued Friday.
“This specific site best meets the needs of the Department of Corrections staff, volunteers and inmates, while at the same time addressing the interests of the community and environmental stakeholders we have worked with,” said division director Eric Tholen.
“The purchase is a significant milestone in the relocation process, and we are looking forward to beginning work on site in the coming months,” Tholen said.
The new correctional facility will allow expanded treatment and educational programs that will make the public safer by reducing the chance that people will commit new crimes after release, corrections officials say.
“This new correctional facility is part of an overall strategy to improve our criminal justice outcomes, enhance the safety and security of our corrections system, improve operations and reduce recidivism,” Rollin Cook, executive director of the Utah Department of Corrections, said in a statement.
“This strategy will help slow the growth in the number of offenders being incarcerated and the costs to provide additional prison beds.”
For more information about the new state correctional facility, visit newutahstateprison.utah.gov.