Gov. Kay Ivey has announced that the new prison to be built in Elmore County will be located in the eastern part of the county.
“At the beginning of September, I announced the next phase of the Alabama Prison Program, including the successful developer teams and the proposed sites for the construction of facilities one (Bibb County) and three (Escambia County)," Ivey stated in the release. "Multiple locations were under review for facility two (Elmore County), therefore, the site location was not shared at that time. We are pleased to announce that the Alabama Department of Corrections intends to enter into negotiations with the CoreCivic team (CoreCivic; Caddell Construction; DLR Group; and R&N Systems Design) to construct facility two at a proposed site in Elmore County near AL-229/Rifle Range Road."
The current prisons in the county are located in the western part of the county. However, the new site is located in the opposite direction in the eastern part of the county. Elmore County Commission Chairman Troy Stubbs said Tallassee is the closest city to the prison site, but the site is not in the city limits. The state will be purchasing private property in the area.
When it was announced in early September that Elmore County would be home to one of the three new prisons, Stubbs said the commission encouraged state leaders to evaluate and exhaust all options to build the prison on land already owned by the state. The state owns pieces of land adjacent to prisons already located in the county.
Despite the state's decision to place the prison on the east side of the county, Stubbs said the county commission is still excited and appreciative of the journey ahead.
"We're excited to be a part of the ADOC's future plans and look forward to seeing what the next steps are," Stubbs said. "This will be a change for residents in the eastern part of the county who are receiving a different type of industry than they're used to, but we remain optimistic about the future."
According to Ivey, the ADOC anticipates construction to begin in early 2021 and that approximately 3,900 construction jobs will be created in Elmore County.
About 700 Elmore County residents are currently employed at prisons located in the county.
The ADOC intends to enter into long-term lease agreements for these three facilities, Ivey stated. While the ADOC will operate and staff the facilities, the developer teams will provide infrastructure maintenance and lifecycle replacement for the duration of the lease term. The negotiation phase of the project is confidential, but the ADOC expects financial close for the facilities to occur in late 2020. At that time, the final financial terms will become publicly available.
“I am pleased with the forward progression of this pivotal initiative and look forward to financial close, which is anticipated to occur in late 2020,” Ivey stated.
The two other facilities will be located near Alabama Highway 139 in Bibb County and near Bell Fork Road in Escambia County.
Alabama has been in the process of reforming its corrections system by replacing prison facilities that pose the greatest risk to public safety, place the largest financial burdens on taxpayers and inhibit the development of programs for inmate rehabilitation, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
The ADOC expects up to 11 prisons to close, and a staffing reduction of about 1,059 positions.