$27 million jail complex designed for Glen Burnie

August 16, 1994|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Sun Staff Writer

A consultant presented a plan to the County Council yesterday for a $27 million, six-building minimum-security jail to be built on a site on Ordnance Road in Glen Burnie.

The 400-bed jail for minimum-security prisoners and the county's work-release program was included in a 2-inch-thick master plan for the Anne Arundel County Correctional System that was given to council members.

The plan, prepared by Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates of Harrisburg, Pa., is required by state officials before they will pay for the customary 50 percent of construction costs.

Thomas C. Crabtree described the design as a campus-like setting, with inmates housed in five two-story, W-shaped buildings with two tiers of open dormitory space. Those buildings are clustered around a rectangular administration building, and the entire complex is surrounded by a security fence.

Two of the dormitories, to be built alongside Ordnance Road, will house work-release inmates, who will leave the jail to go to jobs in the community and return each night. Two buildings facing the work-release units will house minimum security inmates and a transitional or intake unit. A fifth building will be for female inmates.

The complex, for now called the Ordnance Road Sentenced Inmate Facility, will be shielded from Ordnance Road by a berm and trees, most likely evergreens.

As part of the plan, the jail on Jennifer Road outside Annapolis will be renovated for $19 million and used for prisoners awaiting trial or who require maximum security.

The Ordnance Road site was proposed in January 1992 by County Executive Robert R. Neall, who envisioned an $80 million, 650-bed maximum security jail. That plan died when radioactive material left behind by the U.S. Army was discovered. A cleanup is under way.

The County Council then voted to expand the Jennifer Road jail. Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates designed a three-phase expansion at a cost of $71 million that would have doubled the jail's capacity to 1,200 inmates. But Gov. William Donald Schaefer refused to include money for the jail in his budget.

Under the project proposed yesterday, the cost of upgrading the county jail and building the Ordnance Road facility would be about $46 million. The package costs less than either of the earlier options because a separate minimum security jail isn't as expensive to build, jail superintendent Richard Baker said.

Councilwoman Maureen Lamb, an Annapolis Democrat and strong advocate of the dual jail plan, was pleased, saying the savings of $25 million was "enough to build a high school."

But Councilman Carl G. "Dutch" Holland, who favored keeping the jail in Annapolis and vigorously opposed a North County complex, expressed skepticism about whether the buffer and the security fence would be sufficient.

"Security is of the utmost importance if this facility does go forward," Mr. Holland said. "Because you're very close to a shopping center across the road, you're very close to housing. . . . I think you're going to find out that security and buffering is of upmost concern to those folks up there."

Ms. Lamb pointed out that only minimum-security inmates would be placed in Glen Burnie. "You're getting the good guys," she said.

"We don't want none of the guys," Mr. Holland shot back.

Councilwoman Diane Evans, an Arnold Republican who cast the deciding vote last March in favor of the dual jail plan, also attended the briefing.

The jail will be built over two years if money is approved by the state and the county council, which is no sure bet because the decision will be made by the new county executive and council elected in November. If approved, construction of the Ordnance Road jail is scheduled to begin in November 1995 and be completed in August 1997.

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