Later this year, staff and inmates from the aging Windsor Jail will be relocated to the newly constructed, and more environmentally sustainable, South West Detention Centre (SWDC).
Designed by NORR Limited, a firm with previous experience in designing correctional facilities, the maximum security building has the capacity for 315 male and female inmates. Located in Windsor, Ont., on a 12-ha (30-acre) site, SWDC was designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification by including elements to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, provide for efficient energy and water consumption, and create healthy indoor environments.
Construction began on the 18,580-m2 (200,000 sf), $247-million project in 2011; it was completed last August, operating under a design/build/finance/maintain construction contract process. The need for the new facility was seen after significant deterioration of the original Windsor Jail, built in 1925 in the city’s historical Olde Sandwich Town. Inmates from Sarnia, Walkerton, and Owen Sound will also be transferred from older facilities to SWDC.
The new facility’s construction is cited by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) as an example of its strategy to address design, technology, and space inefficiencies by replacing older correctional facilities. An improved health unit with a pharmacy, infirmary, and technology providing access to medical advice will also be included. Additionally, two secured entryways, one for male and one for female prisoners, are part of the design.
Some of the other design features include:
- inclusion of general-population, infirmary, and special-purpose beds;
- specification of low-emitting volatile organic compound (VOC) materials for adhesives, paints, carpeting, and sealants;
- landscaping with native, drought-resistant species to reduce outdoor water use by at least 50 per cent;
- auditorium space;
- decrease of indoor water use of 20 per cent;
- precast concrete cells completely prefinished;
- 234-space parking lot;
- additional space for staff bicycle storage and shower facilities; and
- polyvinyl chloride (PVC) roof membrane to reduce solar heat gain.
During construction, more than 75 per cent of the generated waste was diverted from landfills. The project also generated jobs for the area and much of the materials for the project were sourced from surrounding communities. The South West Detention Centre will open later this year, with staff and inmates from the current jail gradually moved over.