This Project included a new Library Building, an addition for Unit
Management, common Day rooms for inmates, renovations to Unit Management
areas, renovations to the Arts and Crafts and Institutional Services
areas, and construction of an Industries Training Facility. The
total newly built area is over 130,000 sq. ft.
Work involved demolition, renovation, and new construction in a self-contained complex of buildings. The design also incorporated pedestrian and service connections to existing buildings within the complex. Existing mechanical, electrical and structural systems, and a complex underground infrastructure, were assessed to establish locations for the new buildings.
Part of the challenge of this project was creating a design which would complement the existing buildings at the Stony Mountain Institution (SMI), while making a contemporary architectural statement. This aspiration had to be balanced in the context of stringent criteria and guidelines imposed by Correctional Services Canada. These criteria and guidelines included material specifications, window opening dimensions, sight lines, and other security aspects. Construction scheduling was coordinated to minimize disruption of day-to day operations of the facility, including activities and movements of inmates, and to avoid security breaches during movement of workers and materials for construction.
Design of correctional institution environments demands specific consideration of safety, security and robustness of construction, while providing a place for rehabilitation of the inmate population. In our design we balanced the stringent requirements for safety and security while creating a pleasant environment with abundant natural light. In their reviews of the facility, government officials commented on the quality of the environment created, noting the high level of finish produced within a strictly limited budget.
The original cell block is a 100 year old structure with thick loadbearing stone exterior walls, and substantial architectural presence. Work included demolition of the interior of two main prison wings within the cell block. This work required careful and precise planning, scheduling, and engineering to ensure safety at the construction site.
Our design incorporates state-of-the-art security and locking systems supplemented with closed circuit television network. We reduced the psychological impact of surveillance systems by creating open spaces, thereby minimizing the need for cameras.
This also allows staff and guards to have full visibility where needed, assuring ease in daily operations.
Coordination between the construction process and facility operations was key to the success of the project. It required a complete understanding of the operations of the facility. Through meetings with our client and the administration of SMI, we established a strategy for construction that allowed successful operation of the facility during the 6 years of construction and renovation.
An important aspect of our work was the “decanting” of the inmate population and administration staff. This required planning of alternative movement routes and phasing of the demolition, renovations and new construction during the entire period of construction.