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Eloy City Council: CCA moving ground for Ariz. state contract

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Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 1:00 am

Dirt has already started to move over at Red Rock Correctional to fit into the year deadline they have to expand their facility in preparation for almost 2,000 Arizona inmates.

Last fall, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA)’s Eloy prison, Red Rock, was granted a state contract for medium-custody Arizona prisoners starting Jan. 1 of next year. But before inmates start to arrive, a physical addition to the prison needs to be built to expand the facility from its current 1620 beds to 2,000 beds.  

In order to start accepting those contracted Arizona state inmates, all work has to be completed by the contract date of Jan. 1, 2014. The present California inmate population is anticipated to be moved come fall, possibly distributed among CCA’s facilities in Florence.

The new contract will bump up the number of inmates total at the CCA’s four facilities in the city to approximately 8,000.

CCA contractor John Gluch spoke with City Council members last Monday, Jan. 28 to give them an overview of the project improvements.

“It’ll be purely an Arizona contract. They’re not allowed to have inmates from anywhere but Arizona,” CCA representative John Gluch explained to Council last week.

The contract also requires that CCA make several other modifications. They include:

-A cable detection system around the perimeter of the site

-A 15-foot wide sand trap adjacent to the cable detection system

-A new vehicle control building at the entrance off of Arica Road

-New education building

-Additional 12,000 square foot dining and recreational areas (including second ball field) for pending prisoners

-A new maintenance/warehouse building.

-50 new parking spaces

-3500 square feet of administrative space

-Sand trap around perimeter of facility

-8000 square foot programs building

The number of employees “will be roughly the same,” Gluch added. But the expansion of the administrative building is being done to accommodate several state contract monitors on staff with the state, so that they may have offices on-site.

The $18 million expansion project has been contracted to Sundt Construction, Inc. The original structure was a $110 million project when it was built almost 10 years ago.

When Vice-Mayor Joel Belloc asked about the expansion’s potential effect on Eloy, Gluch estimated that housing Arizona inmates in-state could increase the city’s road traffic. There would be many more frequent family-related visits than the city experienced with the Californian inmate population.

“Intuitively, I would say the fact that they’re going to be Arizona inmates, you’re probably receive and get more local visitors than in the past,” Gluch said. “Florence has to deal with that with all of the state facilities and two CCA prisons. So it could affect the community and police department a little bit.”

But it would have its positive influence on the city, as well. Besides the $150,000 a year locally that the city of Eloy receives for ICE inmates from Homeland Security housed at Eloy Detention, this year the expansion project at Red Rock will provide $650,000 in state sales taxes, $108,000 in taxes to Pinal County, along with $79,023 in impact fees, and $442,623 to Eloy in construction sales tax this fiscal year.

In a time of economic uneasiness and minimal to no growth, that is music to Council members’ ears. Some Council members even voiced their contentment with the fact that CCA’s Eloy facility was awarded the contract.

“There are not many out there that are 20-year contracts. It’s a great sense of security - for both us at CCA and the city,” Gluch said. But it’s the trained and experienced staff, he said, that probably in the end sold the state on the Red Rock facility.

“Every time I walk through some of our Eloy facilities, there are folks that I hired 18 years ago, and they’re still there and they’re doing a terrific job. I’m sure one of the biggest considerations in the awarding of this contract, they knew that staff had been there at Red Rock Correctional for as long as 18 years.”

In 20 years, though, as dictated by the agreement with the state, the Red Rock facility will change over to state ownership.

“We want to thank you for all the support you’ve given us in the past, and we hope to continue to work closely with you as we have in the future,” Gluch said to Council and staff last week. “And we’re going to continue to be good neighbors.”

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