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State Sen. Chambliss: ‘Fairly probable’ design for initial Ivey prison plan would still be used for state-financed construction

Before running into political obstacles preventing a line of financing, Gov. Kay Ivey’s administration had put a lot of prep work into her lease-build prison plan, which now relies on the Alabama Legislature for a funding mechanism. Much of that work had to do with the design of the physical facilities, which would have been built on private land had the plan stayed intact.

However, State Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville), who operates Prattville-based Chambliss Engineering, a civil engineering firm, said he envisions a scenario where the state of Alabama could salvage those same plans and the properties built on land owned by the state, which could speed up the process.

In an appearance on “The Jeff Poor Show” on Mobile radio’s FM Talk 106.5, Chambliss explained how some site work might not be needed, which would shorten the construction process. In addition to that, he said the state could put out the existing plans to bid even if it meant modifications for a different site than what the structure was initially designed for.

“I think it’s fairly probable, and the reason that I think it is, is several different components to it,” he said. “One of the components that people keep forgetting is if we went to these private properties, you have utility infrastructure that is not there. So you’re talking about a year, 18 months, sometimes longer in some cases, especially when you’re dealing with wastewater to get those up. If you go to the existing state-owned properties, you already have that infrastructure there. So, in fact, you may actually have a shorter timeline in that regard. And to me — my background is in engineering, civil engineering, site engineering, that kind of thing — and I see no reason we can’t take the existing county state GIS information, including aerial photos, topography, overlay the prototype plan the [Alabama Department of Corrections] has and we [Hoar Program Managament] and others to come up with that, and overlay all that. And then, put that out to bid along with the HPM specs we’ve already paid for and have the final design as part of that bid package.”

“In my career, the very first water tank job I did in the mid-1990s — we did it that way, and we still do them that way,” Chambliss added. “So, I see no reason we can’t do that and expedite it. And, in addition, we would do one on the civil site and get that moving very quickly, and then the other on the building infrastructure. There’s no reason to know where every light switch goes for us to start clearing and grading and doing storm work. So, we can get moving pretty fast if we follow that type of process.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

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