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System Problems Delaying Iowa Prison Opening

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FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) — Problems with the geothermal heating and cooling system continue to delay the opening of Iowa’s $132 million maximum-security prison in Fort Madison.

The Des Moines Register says the new Iowa State Penitentiary was expected to be occupied in March by 550 inmates.

But the state officials say the improperly designed heating and cooling system indefinitely has delayed the prisoners’ move from the old penitentiary to the new prison. And state Corrections Department spokesman Fred Scaletta says “there is no predicted date” for the move.

Corrections Director John Baldwin has said the design flaws are being blamed on the Durrant Group, a Dubuque architectural and engineering firm that ceased operations in 2012.

State officials haven’t determined what it will cost to get the geothermal system working properly.