23 July 2008
Work has started on the Mt Eden Prison site to replace the landmark 120-year old prison.
The new prison buildings are expected to be completed by 2011, allowing Mt Eden Prison to be decommissioned. The heritage-rated building will be restored and refurbished for staff and administration use.
Corrections Minister Hon Phil Goff announced funding approval in May for the $216 million project.
A Fletcher Construction team has moved onto the site. For the next three months they will relocate facilities, install building services and demolish surplus buildings to allow construction work to start in October.
Northern Regional Manager for Prison Services Warren Cummins says the project faces a number of unique challenges.
"This is a major construction project with the added challenges of working on a small inner city site around two of our busiest prisons."
Careful planning has been required to coordinate the construction work with the daily operations of Mt Eden Prison and the Auckland Central Remand Prison.
Warren Cummins has assured the local community that site security will be maintained throughout the construction period.
"The security and safety of our neighbours and all those at the site have been utmost in planning this project."
Representatives from the Iwi Whanui o Tamaki Makaurau committee carried out a site blessing prior to work beginning.
Corrections' Treaty Relationships Partnership Manager for the Northern Region, Neil Campbell, looks forward to continuing Iwi Whanui's relationship with the site.
"Having a modern prison that reflects the type of offender management approaches we use today and is more conducive to the needs of Maori will support us all in our work.
"We face a number of challenges. Removing prisoners and staff from the conditions in the current prison will address one of those challenges."
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