Prince William regional jail under renovation

June 4, 2012

Renovations to the older portion of the Prince William County regional jail are underway, as officials look to extend the life of part of the facility originally intended to be shut down more than a decade ago.

In 2008, county officials unveiled a state-of-the-art $53 million, 200-bed facility that adjoins the older, modular part, constructed in 1990. Extensive repairs are being done to the older part of the jail.

Officials hope a $744,755 contract, approved recently by the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, will extend the life of the 39,000-square-foot Prince William-Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center in Manassas by at least 10 years. The contract was awarded to Moseley Architects.

The repairs are in the second phase of a rehabilitation plan, which includes replacing parts of the plumbing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, and replacing and modernizing the jail’s security system and internal camera system.

The first phase, largely completed last month, were more substantial, costing $2.7 million. Some detention doors were replaced, and the building’s fire system was modified, among other changes.

“It was always the plan to do these repairs on these facilities,” said Supervisor W.S. Covington III (R-Brentsville), a member of the jail board.

Covington said that the projects don’t cause any specific safety concerns but that officials are being careful. “There’s always safety concerns when you’ve got a jail,” he said. “You want to make sure everything’s right.”

Col. Peter A. Meletis, the jail superintendent, said the repair work hasn’t caused a specific safety concern.

Prompted by a federal lawsuit filed by inmates in the late 1980s, the modular part of the jail was built to relieve crowding. In 1989, a federal judge forced city, county and jail officials to come up with an expansion plan, and the result was the modular facility, designed to hold about 200 inmates. It was expected to be a temporary solution, but a plan to replace the modular facility hasn’t been funded. Officials have said a further expansion could cost $80 million.

“We’ll keep an eye on it, and at some point, that building will have to be replaced,” Meletis said.

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