Wichita’s largest jail upgrades security systems

July 13, 2017

The Sedgwick County Adult Detention Facility in Wichita recently underwent a massive upgrade and replacement of its existing jail security system, valued at more than $5 million. The 468,000-square-foot facility is the state’s largest jail and was severely lacking an adequate and up-to-date security system — which is a critical element for any correctional facility, let alone a 1,158-bed county jail.

The replacement of the jail’s security system initially began on Jan. 4, 2014, with completion on May 22, 2015. The estimated completion for all security upgrades, including updates to the county’s work-release center is scheduled for September 2017.

The security systems upgrade is the jail’s largest project since the addition of the facility’s north tower back in 1998. The security system upgrade at the Sedgwick County Adult Detention Facility is one of the largest single-site security electronics upgrades for the county in the past few years, and one of the most complex projects ever undertaken by many of the project team members, according to Jeff Pronschinske, security practice leader at Wauwatosa, Wis.-based Mead & Hunt, the engineering firm and consultant on the new security electronics system for the project, provided by Fishers, Ind.-based security electronics contractor Stanley Security. The project is also the largest and most extensive project that the jail has undergone since the expansion of its north tower back in 1998.

The security system upgrade was part of a broader project that included the replacement of millwork in the inmate housing areas, new equipment rooms and a new master control room, according to Adam Kuehl, associate at Overland Park, Kan.-based HMN Architects, who worked on the design of the project, while locally based Compton Construction Corporation served as the general contractor. The project also included replacement of more than 200 obsolete and malfunctioning detention locks. Although the master control room and upgrades at the jail have since been completed, HMN is also working on the current project at the county’s work-release center, located just a few miles up the road from the Sedgwick County Adult Detention Facility.

Enhancing Safety

The main goal of the jail’s security project was to introduce a modern, easy-to-maintain, staff-efficient, nonproprietary system that will increase safety and replace deteriorated control stations, according to Kuehl. In addition to the master control room upgrade, the team also worked on the jail’s 22 control stations located throughout the housing pods, where the facility uses both direct and indirect supervision.

“HMN developed a control station, which we have used on multiple projects, constructed of a solid surface that is extremely durable, easily maintained and provides an element of safety,” Kuehl explained. “Every monitor, computer, owner-specific system and minor detail right down to a custom razor-blade management system was accounted for in the millwork design.”

The new security system was necessary in order to keep the jail functioning safely and operating according to 21st century standards, according to Pronschinske.

“The original security electronics system had far outlived its useful life and was in disrepair and failing. Replacement parts were no longer available to service the existing equipment, which sparked an immediate need for a full-system replacement,” Pronschinske explained.

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