Dallas County Jail Medical Modification Project: Wall Smashing Ceremony

By Maria Arita, PIO, DC
Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dallas County, Texas – The Dallas County Sheriff‟s Department and Sheriff Lupe Valdez, in conjunction with Dallas County Commissioners Court and Parkland Hospital, proudly broke concrete blocks and placed their signatures and messages on the Azteca + Russell + Turner (ART) banner at a groundbreaking today, of a one-of-a-kind medical health care facility set to begin construction this month at the jail’s North Tower.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, Commissioners John Wiley Price and Dr. Elba Garcia, along with Parkland’s Sharon Phillips, EVP & Interim Chief Operating Officer for Ambulatory and Behavioral Health Services and Operations Manager and Turner Construction Company Greg Mersch took their places in what will become the Pharmacy for the new medical facility. Sheriff Lupe Valdez beamed with pride, she said, for “being able to put forth such an innovative facility to care for the population of the 7th largest jail in the nation.” The Dallas County jail system, she added is analogous to a small city.

Phillips said: “Since Parkland assumed responsibility for health care in the Dallas County Jail in 2006, we’ve been working toward improving access and care for those who need it … the new infirmary marks a turning point for not only inmate health but for the well-being of Dallas. This is possible because of the great collaboration between Parkland, the Sheriffs Department and the County.” She went on to say “This groundbreaking marks an important moment in the progressive changes that have and continue to improve the Dallas County jails … I want to recognize the tremendous leadership of Sheriff Valdez, Commissioner John Wiley Price and Parkland Hospital. Without their work and leadership we would not be in this strong position.

Commissioner Price stepped up to mark the moment with humor, and accolades for the foot soldiers that it took to get the project to this point, saying “Dallas County is fulfilling their responsibilities to taxpayers and to the Dallas County citizens.” Judge Jenkins didn’t miss a beat bestowing credit either, adding “This groundbreaking marks an important moment in the progressive changes that have and continue to improve the Dallas County jails and thereby law enforcement in Dallas County. I want to recognize the tremendous leadership of Sheriff Valdez, Commissioner John Wiley Price and Parkland Hospital. Without their work and leadership we would not be in this strong position.”

With sledge hammers in hand, hard hats and protective vests, Commissioners and partners broke the blocks that symbolized a new era at the Dallas County jail system.

About the Medical Modification Project:
The new health care facility, also referred to as the Med Mod, will be located at the North Tower of the Lew Sterrett Justice Center, located at 111 W. Commerce, in Dallas. The unfinished area of the North Tower will be comprised of three floors and be constructed in two phases. Phase One will involve the modification to the basement of the North Tower where the state of the art jail pharmacy will be relocated; no inmates will be housed on this floor. Phase Two will be the ground and first floor for inmate housing, the medical infirmary for acute care, the jail clinic and radiology and dental clinics including future provisions for a CT imaging machine. The mental health care floor will house 145 inmates. The estimated cost of the Medical Modification project is $48 million.

About HDR
HDR is a recognized leader in healthcare and corrections design and was named one of the top four architecture firms in Architectural Records’ highly-respected Top 250 Design Firm, 2011. In a company statement the partner crystallized the importance of this project “Weve seen how prison populations have doubled in the past 20 years and watched as state spending has risen, topping $51 billion on a national annual basis. Through HDRs industry-defining projects with leaders like Parkland and Dallas County Jail, it is our goal to set a new standard in correctional care delivery, one that meets the needs of a growing population and does so in an efficient and cost-effective way.”

About ART
Together the Azteca + Russell + Turner (ART) team has completed over 75 jails with a combined value of more than $2.5 billion. The ART team has recently completed a number of correctional facilities including the Fort Bend County Jail Renovation/Expansion and Brazos County Jail Renovation/Expansion.

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