The State Budget Committee has approved spending $12 million for engineering and design work on a planned $400 million rebuild of a deteriorating state prison in northwest Indiana.
The budget committee approved the funding Wednesday for the Indiana Department of Correction to begin architectural and engineering design work at the Westville Correctional Facility, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.
DOC officials said nearly all of the 76-year-old prison will be demolished and rebuilt on the 117-acre property, including inmate housing, administration, programming and treatment facilities.
The prison houses about 3,700 medium security offenders at a site in the LaPorte County town of Westville, about 25 miles east of Gary.
The DOC said the age, design and weathering of the prison made renovation of the existing buildings unfeasible, although its newer high-security unit will be retained.
Funding for the $400 million project was included in the 2022-23 state budget adopted in April by the Republican-controlled General Assembly and signed into law by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb.
Construction of the new prison could possibly start in 2022.