State’s top security prison set for shower upgrades

A shower remodeling project designed by CNH Architects for inmates at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Oak Park Heights is set to significantly improve about 40 ceramic tile showers, many of them dating to the prison’s start in the early 1980s.

“They don’t have multiple inmates in one shower,” said CNH Architects Principal Wayne Hilbert. Work will encompass eight phases over the course of almost a year, and requirements are stringent at the maximum-security facility. All of this must take place while the prison remains in operation.

Materials for the project have to be ready before it starts so there are no delays, he explained. There are also strict rules for the tracking of contractor tools and supplies.

Oak Park Heights is changing to a seamless system with reduced maintenance requirements. The system is an epoxy coating specifically made for the prison environment that is easier to clean and maintain than ceramic tile. Hilbert said the epoxy is similar to the speckled material people apply to their garage floors.

Work is to begin soon, starting with demolition. There are light fixtures to replace, finish materials to patch, concrete and concrete blocks to set and cure. The showers are in several different areas of the facility and surfaces are expected to be a neutral color.

“Our firm does a variety of interesting projects which keeps work fun” said Hilbert. CNH has been involved in jail and prison design work in the past.

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