Jail expansion using concrete, too

Published January 29, 2007

LECANTO - To find another example of precast concrete structures, county officials don't have to look far.

They are a key part of the $18.5-million Citrus County jail expansion project.

Months ago, the 60 precast parts of the building came rolling into Citrus County.

Two by two, on flatbed semitrailer trucks.

They came from Oldcastle Precast of Jacksonville, assistant warden Chris Howard said.

"It was pretty amazing," he said. "They all came in over a matter of a few days."

Each precast part contained two cells, fully equipped - including toilets.

Crews used heavy-duty cranes to put the parts together, Howard said.

And construction is almost finished. Officials are planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony in February. Soon afterwards, Howard said, new inmates and staffers will move in.

Precast concrete is becoming the norm in corrections construction, Howard said.

"One of your most significant costs is length of construction, and this significantly reduces the amount of time you are in construction," he said.

Also, Howard said, precast cells are more secure, because the concrete is poured in a controlled environment. That allows builders to prevent construction flaws inmates could exploit.

The jail expansion will add 360 beds to the county's 390-bed jail facility in Lecanto.

That will help ease overcrowding at the jail, and provide revenue from federal inmates who will also be housed there until the county needs the space.

Corrections Corporation of America, which operates the Citrus jail, paid for the $18.5-million project, which also includes a 4,700-square-foot medical facility and a covered outdoor recreation area.

Catherine E. Shoichet can be reached at cshoichet@sptimes.com or 860-7309.