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State officials expected to attend ceremony for prison

Friday, September 14, 2001

CHARLESTON - State dignitaries including Gov. Bob Holden will join legislators and city and county officials Sept. 21 at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Southeast Correctional Center.

The ceremony, scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., will take place at the maximum-security prison located one mile south of Charleston on Missouri Highway 105.

Among those slated to attend are Sen. Peter Kinder, Rep. Lanie Black, Rep. Peter Myers, Sen. Bill Foster, Rep. Robert Mayer, Rep. Danny Merideth, and Rep. Phillip Britt in addition to Gary Kempker, director of the Missouri Department of Corrections.

"The Southeast Correctional Center serves as another example of our commitment to work with local communities and be good neighbors," said Kempker. "We are pleased to partner with the citizens in Charleston to improve public safety for all Missourians."

Holden, who will officiate at the ceremony, said, "It is the responsibility of the state to build prisons and punish dangerous felons and protect the public. The correctional institution at Charleston gives us the secure space we need to continue our aggressive battle against crime."

Local dignitaries scheduled to attend include Betty Hearnes, chair of the Mississippi County Industrial Development Authority; Jacky Whiteside, Charleston's mayor; Mississippi County commissioners; and other area business and community leaders.

Members of the HOK architectural firm of St. Louis, which designed the facility, and of the contractor, River City Construction of Peoria, Ill, will also be present.

The new facility cost $72 million, will employ 445 corrections professionals, and will house 1,596 male inmates.

The prison is situated on a 120-acre site south of Charleston and consists of 10 buildings including six housing units and an administration building.

Specialized areas of the prison include the medical and mental health care units, administrative segregation housing, basic academic and vocational classrooms, a laundry and central food service.

Funding for the facility was approved by the General Assembly during the 1997 legislative session.

The public is invited to attend an open house with tours of the institution from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 22 and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 23.