Rountree project continues

(Contributed rendering)

WATSONVILLE — The Rountree Rehabilitation and Re-Entry Facility project is almost complete. The project started in 2016 and county officials expect it to open in early 2018.

“The true meaning of this project is not meant to house more inmates, but to more efficiently rehabilitate them, and reduce their chances of re-entry,” said Sgt. Chris Clark of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office. 

Rountree was originally constructed for 162 inmates in the 1970s. Additional space was built in the 1990s for 96 more inmates. Once the project is complete, 64 additional beds will have been added.

Renovation on a 7,647-square-foot residential wing for inmates includes a semi-private sleeping chamber, a desk, and storage area for each individual inmate.

According to the Planning Department for the County of Santa Cruz, the jail renovation and expansion is being constructed primarily of steel, masonry and concrete for long-term durability.

Wolfgang Mathews, a journeyman pipefitter for Gilbane mechanical contractor, said the job is moving along swiftly, and facilitators are extremely pleased with their progress.

Removal and replanting of trees, and a new perimeter fence has been replaced, along with areas for shipping laundry to be done by inmates, Mathews added.

Rountree will overall be expanded by 1,955 square feet.

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