Blackwater River Correctional Facility
The $114 million Blackwater River Correctional Facility in Milton, FL is a 378,796 SF facility that provides secure care, custody, and control for medium and close custody male inmates. Under the ownership of The Geo Group, the facility focuses on providing academic and vocational programs as well as medical care, substance abuse programs, counseling, and life skills training opportunities.
The 2,000-bed facility included the design of complex areas for housing, administration, programming space, support services, kitchen facility, multiple bathrooms, and segregation areas. In addition, the facility was designed and constructed to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) requirements. To accomplish the LEED Gold® certification, SSR worked with the architect and owner early in the project to provide information on lighting, hot/chilled water distribution loop systems for energy efficiency, low flow plumbing fixtures, mechanical system designs that met efficiency standards, energy modeling, and a water reclamation system for laundry. This allowed for the team to work more efficiently to accomplish the schematic and design phase in an expedited time frame and provide cost effective solutions to meet the needs and requirements.
With the help of previous correctional experience, the design team was able to incorporate innovative solutions to allow for better accessibility and conveniences for the officers maintaining the facility. The HVAC control system and plumbing valves were tied into the central control system to allow officers to control air and water flow from the safety of the officer’s station. The smoke control system was designed to evacuate smoke without the need to evacuate adjacent zones allowing for better control of inmates during a smoke alarm.
To accommodate the large campus, the HVAC included two 500-ton chillers, 59 rooftop units, 19 split systems, 108 exhaust fans, and 39 smoke exhaust fans. The chilled water system was designed using pre-insulated piping below ground and grooved piping above ground. To maintain energy efficiency, gas heat was installed through all of the buildings and the plumbing system contains 30 gas fired water heaters.
The facility began providing services to the Florida Department of Corrections in October of 2010. The facility is able to help meet the on-going need for cost-efficient, secure correctional beds in Florida and is able to work closely with the community of Santa Rosa County, FL to maximize the facility’s local economic development impact.