PROJECT COST: $133 million

From a construction perspective, Suffolk County's newest correctional facility is no different than any other special-use building, according to E.F. Howell Co. project manager Joe Sellers.

Yaphank Correctional Facility
Rendering courtesy of Wiedersum Associates Architects
Yaphank Correctional Facility

"It's like any project that has specialty requirements," he says. "You find out what the client needs, and you give it to him."

But considering the size, scope, and purpose of the 318,000 sq ft facility, there's little doubt that some of these requirements are rather exceptional.

Under construction adjacent to an existing correctional facility, the new steel and masonry minimum security complex is Suffolk County's largest construction project in more than 30 years. The facility's centerpiece one-story main building will include areas for inmate booking, visitation, housing for more than 300 female inmates, a health clinic, and mechanical rooms.

A separate two-story detention center, designed to accommodate 360 male prisoners, will contain specially designed modular cells made of prefabricated concrete. And, a new administrative center will be created from a full-scale interior fit-out of an existing structure. All three buildings will have slab-on-grade foundations.

Sellers says that security and control are by far the dominant themes of the buildings, which will require approximately 500,000 sq ft of masonry filled with mortar and rebar 8 to 12 inches on center, depending on a particular area's security level. Some exterior walls will have back-up block, while some of the security walls are three courses thick.

"The masons are going to be here forever," Sellers says.

Other security-focused construction features include pick-proof caulking, ductwork with built-in bars at all wall and ceiling passages to prevent use as escape routes, and a state-of-the-art electronic security system with three back-up generators.

Meeting Suffolk County's targeted September 2011 completion date will demand careful staffing and logistics planning throughout the aggressive 30-month construction schedule. Drawing exclusively from local labor sources, the project will employ approximately 30 subcontractors and have as many as 400 workers on-site during peak periods.

"It has all the challenges that come with delivering a quality facility on a tight construction schedule," Sellers says, sounding a familiar theme. "Finding the best way to get it done is what we're here for."

Key Players:

Owner: Suffolk County Department of Public Works, Yaphank, NY
Architect: Wiedersum Associates Architects, Hauppauge, NY
Civil Engineer: Sidney B Bowne & Son LLP, Mineola, NY
Structural Engineer: Koutsoubis, Alonso Associates, PC, Hicksville, NY
MEP Engineer: Lizardos Engineering Associates, Mineola, NY
Construction Manager: Liro Program & Construction Management, PC, Syosset, NY
General Contractor: E.W. Howell Co., LLC, Plainview, NY
HVAC Subcontractor: ANRON, North Babylon, NY/Botto Mechanical Corporation, Plainview, NY
Electric Subcontractor: Bana Electric Corporation - Farmingdale, NY
Masonry Subcontractor: Pirraglia Contracting, Rocky Point, NY