By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
The state Department of Corrections is inviting public comment on the possible impacts of building a new state prison facility in Grand Mound or two other potential locations.
Members of the public can offer their thoughts by letter, by email or at a meeting scheduled next week at Rochester High School.
DOC hopes to construct what they call a prison reception center in Western Washington – with 1,024 beds.
It’s the place offenders go first, to be evaluated for physical, mental health, security and other needs and to determine the particular prison where they will serve their time, according to DOC.
Officials anticipate a staff of approximately 500 in a 356,000 square-foot building on roughly 50 acres.
They are looking at the site which currently is home to Maple Lane School – a state juvenile correctional facility at 20311 Old Highway 9 SW in Grand Mound which is slated for closure.
DOC is also considering two other properties: in Kitsap County near Belfair and Bremerton, as well as in Mason County near Shelton and the existing Washington State Correctional Center.
They would like what they are calling the Westside Prison Reception Center to be up and running by 2016, since prison population forecasts indicate a bed shortage for male offenders by that time.
Prison officials are proposing environmental impact statements be conducted on all three sites, to determine probable, significant adverse environmental impacts.
Those could include a broad range of effects, such as on water, plants, animals, air quality, noise, utilities, transportation, schools, police and fire services and more, according to DOC.
Agencies and members of the public are being asked to offer feedback on the scope of the environmental impact statements and may comment on such things as alternatives, mitigation measures and expected impacts, according to DOC.
The state legislature has approved funding to find a location and for pre-design costs but have not yet approved funds to build the new facility, according to DOC.
Properties pitched earlier this year by Winlock, Morton and Castle Rock didn’t make the cut.
Comments can be submitted before 5 p.m. on May 13, 2011.
By email: to David B. Jansen at firstname.lastname@example.org
On the DOC website: at http://www.doc.wa.gov/business/capitalprograms/prisonsiting
By mail: to David B. Jansen at WA Department of Corrections, PO Box 41112, Mail stop 41112, Olympia, Wash. 08504-1112
At the meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday May 4 in the commons room at Rochester High School at 19800 Carper Road SW, Rochester.
Similar meetings will be held the same week at Bremerton City Hall and Mason County Public Works.