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Thursday, November 20, 2000

Galindo outlines 3,000-bed facility to Lions' Club

Staff Writer

PECOS, November 30, 2000 - Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo offered Pecos Lions' Club members an update on the new 1,000-bed addition at the Reeves County Detention Center, during the club's weekly meeting held at noon Wednesday.

"Over the last year and a half we have embarked on a complex project," said Galindo of the $23 million expansion, which doubled the size of the 14-year-old facility to 2,000 inmates.

Galindo told the group that they were actually about $200,000 under budget at this time.

"With the addition of a $200,000 water line and $400,000 in additional infrastructure, which had originally been set at $1 million, we're actually saving money," said Galindo.

Construction of a 16-inch water line was one of the infrastructure improvements, and was put in during the late summer in assure enough water for the facility. "An elevated storage tank, which was installed within two days is another part of the infastructure that was achieved," he said.

Galindo said other projects of this nature have taken longer and are usually more costly. "It's unheard of, to be under-budget and as close to the completion date," said Galindo. "I think we should be proud of that," he said.

He added that they operated on a lot of different methods, but that the Guaranteed Maximum Price would not be exceeded, and that the county is currently in discussion on liquidated damages, since the facility had been set to open in early September, but will now be complete in December.

"What we have been discussing is liquidated damages, $3,600 per day," said Galindo. "This is a good news, bad news deal, the good news is that the project is under-budget, but they've exceeded the number of days of completion," he said.

Galindo said they are trying to balance that, since already new inmates have been moved into the part of the facility that is complete.

"I hope we can look at the good news, as well as the bad," he said.

Galindo gave the group a short history on the facility, saying that when the facility was first built it was a 500-bed facility. "We expanded it to 650 beds in 1993-1994," said Galindo.

In 1995-96, the county made efforts to meet all the requirements of their best client, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, which provides almost all of the inmates for the facility. "Our customers had a number of requirements, including life-safety issues, smoke-free corridors and exits," said Galindo.

Galindo said that they then asked Lorraine Dailey, architect with Dailey, Gondeck and Rabke too look into the issue and fix all these requests. With Warden Rudy Franco and his staff, they were able to come to a solution and add an additional 300 beds.

While the safety improvements were being put in, the BOP in Washington moved to privatization of more of its detention facilities, according to Galindo. They would need additional beds.

"The population has grown by 10,000 per year and is expected to keep on growing," said Galindo. "They expect the trend to stay the same."

It would have taken BOP six years and a lot more money to add 1,000 beds.

"We added 1,000 beds for $35 million in a year and a half," said Galindo. "We've been able to recruit the best management team in this region to be a part of the staff at the facility," he said.

Galindo told the group that now, the facility has been rated, not only by the BOP but by Standard & Poors, along with Wall Street analysts and their other backers. "We were nervous about the rating, but at the end of the day, they told us there was an opportunity here," he said.

Galindo said the opportunity they were talking about was adding another 1,000 more beds, following the completion of the current 1,000-bed expansion.

"I think this is an opportunity, an opportunity to add an additional 1,000 beds," said Galindo, which would bring capacity up to 3,000 inmates.

The review from the financial analysts and our backers was good, said Galindo. "They told us they would finance us another $15 million to add another 1,000 beds."

He told the Lions' Club that he would like input from the community. "Is this what we want to do?" he asked.

"We have a $13 million payroll, 200 more jobs and 1,000 more beds, we add $15-20 million to operations and that would add 200 more jobs," said Galindo. "We need your input to see in which direction to move."

"I think the community has been coming together, we've been coming together with the school, the city and other entities," he said in support of expansion. "We've looked very closely at the labor market within 50-100 miles and it's very healthy."

Starting pay at the facility is $19,000, but within a year, that individual can go up to $24,000 upon completion of appropriate training. "$24,000 is the beginning salary of a teacher, not only is there labor market, but there is strong labor market," he said.

Galindo told the group that he would like to receive their input and if they had any questions to please share them with the four commissioners that were there, along with the RCDC Warden Rudy Franco and architect Lorraine Dailey.

"We have a lot of people working here, but they are driving back and forth," said Lions Club member Gome Olibas, referring to prison workers who continue to live in nearby cities.

"We've noticed that there is a big shortage in apartments in this community," said Galindo. "This is a young labor force, it's hard to make a decision of purchasing a home."

But this does create an opportunity for apartment housing, he added.

Galindo told the group that the other project they are looking at is an on-site wastewater treatment plant.

"We have been moving in that direction and the county has agreed to commit $4 million for the development of a new water field," he said, referring to funds for the city's planned South Worsham water field.

This is a significant investment, according to Galindo. "Now, we need feedback from the community," he said.

Lions Club member and West Texas National Bank president John Grant asked about the RCDC's turnover rate, which had been a problem in the past.

"We made a commitment to create a core veteran staff and that has essentially stopped the bleeding and we are now attracting a whole different type of employees," said Galindo.

"Have you done any study to see how the prison affects insurance for homeowners?" asked Grant.

"I don't think it will affect the insurance, it will be beneficial not only to the homeowner, but the community," said Galindo.

Olibas stated that yes, young people were coming into the community, but not children and more students which are needed in the schools, since the numbers have dropped dramatically.

"Yes, they are young people, but if they like it they might decide to stay and possibly have a family here, raise their children here and buy homes," said Galindo.

Club member Dick Alligood said, "In response to your question, is it time to go for it? If we don't do an impact study, what if we do go ahead with the project, what will it do to the infastructure of the community."

"It's hard to say, yes, but not at the cost of the businesses in town already," said Alligood. "Let's make sure we do an impact study, but we sure don't want to lose this opportunity."

"When I worked there, a long time ago, I was the only case manager/counselor there at the time, how many do you have now?" asked Lions Club member Tom Rivera, who currently serves as Chamber of Commerce executive director.

"We now have about 20-25 case managers and counselors," said RCDC Warden Rudy Franco.

"The facility has grown and changed in new and different ways," said Galindo. "It's stronger and better."

County reviews final payments for new addition

Staff Writer

PECOS, November 30, 2000 - Numbers, numbers and more numbers were the topic of discussion at a special Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting held Wednesday morning.

The group discussed in detail the funds spent on the construction of the 1,000-bed addition at the Reeves County Detention Center.

On hand for the in-depth discussion, along with the County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo and all four commissioners, were architect Lorraine Daily, representing Rabke, Dailey and Gondeck, Mark Schumacher of Banes Construction Company and RCDC Warden Rudy Franco.

"At the last commissioners court we came and asked the court for an additional amount and were told that we needed specific accounting on the project," said Schumacher.

During the discussion Galindo noted that the original price for the construction of the addition, which will double the size of the prison, had been set at $23 million. This figure did not include the construction manager's fee.

"We had anticipated almost $1 million in infrastructure, but those figures show that it's less," said Galindo.

"We still made the Guaranteed Maximum Price and are getting $400,000 for site utilities," said Dailey.

"I think the main thing to remember is that we will be bringing the project in under budget," said Schumacher.

Schumacher told the court that he had "pitched in" and done a lot of extra work just to push the job along.

He then passed out a summary of all the work done and the cost for each item.

"Mark and I spent five hours the other day going over every figure," said Galindo. "I wanted the court to see all the figures for themselves and where all the money went to."

The extra funds Schumacher was asking for was money that had been taken out-of-pocket for the month of October.

The facility was originally scheduled to be completed in early September, but missed that date and two others over the following month. But Schumacher said it will be substantially completed next week. He spoke about the finishing touches being made to the new addition during a tour of the facility following the morning discussion.

"Even though the facility is not 100 percent finished, we did meet the Bureau of Prisons commitment to take in 200 inmates in September," said Dailey. "We have 400 beds now and will have the remaining 600 available in December," she said.

Logistically it would take anywhere from 5-6 months to fill those beds, but they have been doing it in stages, according to Franco.

"It took a lot of cooperating and team work to make this work, but Banes did an excellent job," said Dailey. "Everyone is very excited and the staff is anxious to move into their new offices in the new administration building."

TxDOT outlines planned work

Staff Writer

PECOS, November 30, 2000 - Texas Department of Transportation officials met to discuss area "wish lists" and project priorities for the years of 2002-2004 in a meeting at the Ward County Community Center in Monahans on Tuesday.

Community members and elected officials from area cities and counties were invited to meet with TxDOT to discuss the upcoming projects and what projects they would like to see, though only a small number of people have turned out for the first three meetings. The final one is tonight in Odessa.

Current President of the Pecos Chamber of Commerce Jeannette Alligood and president-elect for the Chamber Barbara Creager represented Reeves County at the Monahans meeting.

"We were the only non-TxDOT people," Alligood said.

Alligood said no other representatives from Reeves County or any other county or city showed up to the meeting.

The TxDOT officials discussed the "wish lists" for this region's counties and cities. Each submitted "wish list" was put together by requests from rural elected officials of what they wanted to see done in the coming years.

"Every other year they ask for wish lists," Alligood said.

Reeves County submitted four items on the "wish list" that include: to implement the Town of Pecos City's landscape masterplan, designate U.S. 285 a four-lane divided highway from Interstate 20 to the New Mexico state line, consider a truck route around the city of Pecos and consider allocating funds for the repair of several bridges in the County.

Alligood said the elected officials need to discuss their "wish lists" with the TxDOT officials in order to "push forward their projects they would like to see accomplished."

"They're (TxDOT) looking at it to see how it would fit with what they are already looking at and funding," she said.

Alligood said that is why the citizens of Pecos and Reeves County need to inform the elected officials what they would like to see done that way those officials could inform TxDOT of their requests.

"It's like that saying, the squeaky wheel gets oiled," she said. "We need to be very squeaky so our voice can be heard."

The TxDOT officials discussed and explained the procedures they go through to pick which projects get completed.

"They explained how they operate and how they decided what to do," Alligood said.

TxDOT announced and discussed the priority list of upcoming projects for the years of 2002-2004.

Reeves County is listed five times totaling over $13 million within two years.

The first time Reeves County is listed is sixth, which would be rehab of Interstate 20 from Salt Draw to one mile east of FM 2903 (Toyah) costing $900,000.

The next project on the list is seal coating district wide of Ector and Reeves Counties costing over $7 million.

Both projects are scheduled to start in 2002.

For the year 2003, Reeves County is listed three times.

The first project scheduled for that year is to scar, add cement, reshape and add surface treatment on U.S. 285 from Orla to State Highway 302, at a cost of over $2.5 million.

The next project is to rehab existing road on FM 869 from State Highway 17 to the I-20, costing over $2 million.

Listed 29th on the priority list is the last project involving Reeves County, which would be to landscape the Interstate 20/U.S. 285 interchange at a cost of $250,000.

Alligood said she and Creager thought the meeting was very informational and "time well spent."

She said that there is a meeting scheduled for January to discuss funding for future projects.

Eagles place 18 players on All-District football squad

Staff Writer

PECOS, November 30, 2000 - Eighteen Pecos Eagles were named to the All-District 2-4A football team in voting by the district's coaches, with senior Omar Luna earning Most Valuable Player honors on defense for the 2000 season.

Ten of the 18 players were named to the first team squad, and Pecos filled nine spots on the second team while seven other Eagles earned honorable mention in voting by the coaches on Nov. 15, just prior to the bi-district round of the playoffs.

Luna earned MVP honors on defense a year after Daniel Terrazas received the honor, also at linebacker for the Eagles. Mark Abila was defensive MVP in 1998, the first year Pecos was part of District 2-4A

"When we voted on defensive MVP the other coaches nominated players, but when we decided he got all the votes but one," said Eagles' coach Gary Grubbs.

Terrazas was still a first-team selection on defense, as was Trent Riley at the third linebacking position. But Terrazas also earned first team honors this season on offense at running back, where he gained 1,028 yards during the regular season, second to Fabens' Vicente Macias, who was named Offensive MVP for 2000. Luna was also a first team selection at fullback, where he ran for 565 yards this past season.

"Daniel was just behind Macias in the voting" Grubbs said. "I felt Daniel was the offensive MVP in the district, but the other coaches looked at the year-long totals insteadk of just the district stats. Macias has more carries than Daniel, but that was over the course of the year, not just district."

In district games, Macias ran for 1,093 of his 2,116 yards on the season, while Terrazas gained 863 yards during the Eagles' five district games.

Aside from their linebackers, the Eagles put four other starters on the first-team defensive squad, in end Cesar Coria and tackle Pifi Montoya, both seniors, junior cornerback Richard Rodriguez and sophomore safety Matthew Levario, who also earned first team honors as a kicker.

Levario was the leading scorer among district kickers this past season with 37 points, while Rodriguez ended up leading the district in interceptions with seven. Overall, the Eagles ended up averaging just over 300 yards per game on offense, the first time they've managed that in over 20 years, while the defense gave up just over 230 yards per game during regular season play.

Christmas for Kids plans fundraising effort

PECOS, November 30, 2000 - Christmas for the Kids will be out Saturday asking for help from the community in their quest to raise funds to provide a good and happy Christmas for the less fortunate children in the community.

The door-to-door drive will be held from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Youths in the community, from all the sports sector and clubs and organizations will be on hand to help out.

Christmas for the Kids provides essentials for the children in the community.

For more information contact Sofia Baeza at 445-4901.


PECOS, November 30, 2000 - High Wednesday 58. Low this morning 30. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 30s. South wind 5 to 15 mph, becoming northeast toward morning. Friday, partly cloudy and cooler. high in the upper 50s. Northeast wind 10 to 20 mph. Friday night, mostly cloudy. Low in the lower to mid 30s. Saturday and Sunday, partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 20s to mid 30s. Highs in the 50s to lower 60s.

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Pecos Enterprise
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