The man who’ll oversee operations of the new Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison says it’s still not quite ready to house inmates. Warden Nick Ludwick says crews are still trying to fix a malfunctioning geothermal system in the new facility.
The problem was first noticed back in late April. Ludwick says the new prison includes four housing units, plus many other large buildings, so it’s taking a long time to complete the repairs. “The inconsistency, right now, is the basis for the delay. We do have a firm working on it and they’ve brought in extra laborers,” Ludwick says. “We are optimistically looking at moving in late summer or early fall.”
In October of last year, reporters were given a tour of the new Iowa State Penitentiary. At the time, corrections officials said inmates would be transferred into the new facility in March of this year. Ludwick admits he’s a bit frustrated, but is trying to take the setback in stride.
“I look at it as an opportunity for additional training, additional tours, refining the actual transportation schedule, and things of that nature,” Ludwick told Radio Iowa.
Around 550 of the state’s toughest criminals are housed in the old Iowa State Pen, originally built in 1839. The new $130 million prison has room for 800 inmates. Ludwick said it remains unclear how much more is being spent on the heating and cooling system repairs.