The Board of Public Works gave the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services approval Wednesday to dismantle 14 of the 16 buildings that made up the old House of Correction in Jessup.
The antiquated prison, known as "The Cut," was closed by Gov. Martin O'Malley in early 2007 in a surprise weekend operation. The board on Wednesday approved a $530,511 contract with EBA Engineering Inc. of Baltimore to plan and design the "deconstruction" — rather than demolition — of the buildings. Two more buildings are slated for renovation.
Public Safety Secretary Gary D. Maynard said the deconstruction process is a less costly technique that involves more recycling and less hauling of waste to landfills than previous techniques. He said the department expects to train about 150 inmates under apprenticeships in such skills as asbestos and lead-paint removal techniques.
Rick Binetti, a department spokesman, said a contract for actual demolition is expected to go to the board late this year or early in 2013. The cost is estimated at $7.3 million.
O'Malley, who called the old prison "the best facility we ever closed," said he expected inmates would find something healing in the process of taking apart the old structure. The governor ordered it closed because of the dangerous conditions at the prison, where there had been several well-publicized attacks on staff during the previous years.