Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011 | 2:06 a.m.
Henderson Detention Center
Henderson jail inmates will have a new place to call home come Monday — one with a sleeker look, a more open concept and, according to city officials, the ability to generate money.
After 378 days of construction, Henderson city and law enforcement officials unveiled the new Henderson Detention Center on Wednesday morning. It adds 250 beds to the existing facility.
Once inmates settle into their new quarters next week, construction will begin to revamp the old 293-bed facility as part of the $29 million detention center expansion project.
The construction, expected to be complete in July, will renovate staff areas, the kitchen and central control room of the existing detention center, officials said. A hallway will connect the old and new facilities, doubling the city’s jail capacity.
“We need this space to grow into in the years that follow,” said Henderson Police Chief Jutta Chambers.
Until then, the additional beds provide the city with an extra revenue source. Contract inmates from other jurisdictions, such as federal agencies and Boulder City, will fill the space, generating an expected $5 million to $6 million a year for the city, said police spokesman Todd Rasmussen.
In addition to boosting the city’s revenue stream, the project has also created about 33 new jobs at the facility, officials said.
Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen said the project, which was completed despite the economic downturn, solidifies the city’s commitment to public safety.
“Working together with projects like this, we will continue to make Henderson a premiere community,” he said.
Inside, city and law enforcement officials got a first glimpse of the gleaming facility that was built to foster more communication between corrections officers and inmates and give inmates a little more freedom.
An open booking area allows newly arrested individuals to be without handcuffs while they wait to post bail or move elsewhere, with the option of specialized cells for those who are not cooperating, Corrections Sgt. Julie Gerardi said.
The detention center’s housing units, which shelter minimum- to medium-security inmates, are self-contained so inmates can eat, access the outdoor recreation area and appear via video for arraignments, Gerardi said.
The design, unlike the old facility, also puts the corrections officers’ station in an open, center area within the housing units.
“We have a better pulse on what’s going on when we’re right out with the inmates,” Gerardi said. “It gives us a little heads up on potential problems.”
The inmates at the Henderson Detention Center can be incarcerated for several days up to more than a year, officials said.
Officials expect the new detention center, built by Sletten Construction, to meet the city’s needs for the next 20 to 30 years.
The detention center, completed on time and within budget, will continue to keep costs low during its lifetime, Chambers said.
“It’s going to take us less effort in maintaining this facility moving forward,” she said.