Ground breaking for $105M private jail set for Thursday

Published 4:48 pm Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Officials have scheduled a ground breaking ceremony Thursday for a $105 million private prison to be built in Natchez.

Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest private prison contractor, committed in April to building the facility. It will house low- to medium-security federal prisoners.

The ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday. CCA officials are expected to join state and local officials, including Gov. Haley Barbour, to commemorate the event, CCA spokesman Steve Owen said.

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“We think its important, even though we’ve physically begun to do things, to memorialize this partnership with Adams County,” Owen said.

Workers have completed the bulk of the necessary excavation work in the last few weeks, “which essentially means theres a flat site out there,” Owen said.

Contractors have also started work on underground mechanical and electrical aspects of the project, he said.

“In the very near future, were going to be developing the onsite plant that is needed to produce cell fabrication,” Owen said.

The cells will be constructed, or prefabricated, at the site and then puzzle-pieced together to build the structure, he said.

“Its a cookie-cutter approach,” Owen said. “Probably in the next month, we will start producing those.”

The city announced this week that it received a $500,000 grant from Delta Regional Authority to go toward running sewer and water lines to the prison.

That money will serve as match-money for a $4 million federal grant to complete the entire project.

The $105 million prison itself will be built and paid for entirely by CCA.