A district court judge Monday rejected an injunction filed by Master Builders of Iowa that sought to block an Illinois firm from building a new maximum security prison in Fort Madison. Walsh Construction of Chicago was awarded a contract to build the prison after submitting a low bid of $116.9 million.

The Master Builders group argued the contract should have been awarded to an Iowa firm because of a state law which calls for giving preference to Iowa businesses when awarding state contracts. Governor Culver has defended the contract with Walsh saying a Project Labor Agreement will ensure the majority of the up to 500 construction jobs will go to Iowans.

The new 800-bed prison is slated to open in July 2013. The existing facility was built in 1839.