Shambaugh & Son Lock Up Prison Security Project

In March 2001, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to a pre-qualified list of design-build general contractors to manage the construction project for a new federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind. The 598,000-square-foot U.S. Penitentiary II facility was designed to house 1,080 inmates on the same federal property where two other existing prisons are located. The BOP required that the correctional facility emphasize security, function and workability, new technologies, and staff efficiency and livability. In addition to the precast concrete cells, the facility contains cafeterias, recreational and medical facilities, a library, a utility plant with boilers, generators, main electrical gear, HVAC equipment and a Unicor factory that employs inmates.

Deadline for responding to the RFP was April 2001. In July, the BOP named Clark/Hagerman Joint Venture (CHJV), which is comprised of The Clark Construction Group, headquartered in Bethesda, Md., and Hagerman Construction Corp., Fort Wayne, Ind., as the general contractor. The award was based on CHJV’s bid, Clark Construction’s previous experience with working on correctional facilities and Hagerman’s ability to provide access to local subcontractors and its knowledge of applicable Indiana state codes and standards.

Shambaugh & Son, headquartered in Fort Wayne, became involved with the project when CHJV invited the company to provide pre-contract award pricing services for the fire alarm, communications and security systems. “Our estimators worked up a budget for the systems, which was then rolled into CHJV’s bid to the federal government,” said Randy Maddox, director of business development. After receiving its $120 million contract, CHJV awarded Shambaugh the $8.2 million fire alarm, communications and security systems portion of the project, based on the company’s pre-construction contributions, its pricing levels, its experience in working in government prisons and other institutional facilities and its 35-year relationship with Hagerman Construction. “Shambaugh & Son has performed excellent work on projects with us, and we invited them to join the team based on that relationship and the company’s extensive knowledge and expertise,” said Jeff Hagerman, vice president of Hagerman Construction and CHJV project executive.

To design the facility itself, as well as its fire alarm, communications and security systems, CHJV hired Schenkel Shultz Architecture, Indianapolis, and the Bellevue, Wash., firm of Alta Consulting Services Inc. Shambaugh reviewed the plans as they were developed to ensure that the designed systems would comply with the original pricing levels established by the company during the bid process.

To fulfill its contract requirements, Shambaugh partnered with SimplexGrinnell, Westminster, Mass., to supply the fire alarm system and all of the necessary components. “We’ve worked previously with the company on similar projects and value its team approach to providing products and services,” said Maddox. For the communication system, ESCO Communications, Indianapolis, was chosen to provide the data and telephone systems, as well as the master antenna television (MATV) system for the prison. The final member to join Shambaugh’s team was, a division of Stanley Security Solutions, Noblesville, Ind., which specializes in providing complete electronic security systems for prisons. “ was chosen for its expertise and reputation in the industry and was given the responsibility of designing the facility’s security system and integrating it with the fire alarm and communications systems,” explained Maddox.

Shambaugh & Son has partnered together with all three of these companies on two other large, state of Indiana correctional facility projects over the past six years, and, according to Maddox, has developed a good working relationship based on open communications and trust. Other correctional facility projects at the local and Indiana state levels that Shambaugh has worked on over the past two decades have ranged in size from $500,000 to $22 million and have included state-of-the-art power distribution, lighting and voice/data/video (VDV) systems.

Construction began in April 2002 and was scheduled to be completed by the end of May 2004. Shambaugh and Son was responsible for installing the facility’s security, telephone, computer, and fire alarm systems. The security system consists of automated doors, door controls, a CCTV surveillance system, and the intercom, paging and duress systems, which are all integrated through PLC microprocessors. Shambaugh installed all of the necessary devices and ran the security cabling back to a main monitoring and control room, which is staffed by guards 24/7.

For the communications system, Shambaugh ran all of the Category 5e cabling to the personal computers at each of the workstations at the guard stations and in the administrative offices. The company’s electricians terminated the cables, but the BOP installed the computers. “The BOP takes a proprietary view of the facility’s personal computer network and does not involve external contractors in the design or implementation of the system,” explained Tim Whicker, project manager.

The fire alarm system included the installation of shielded twisted-pair cabling and the fire alarm devices and panels located throughout the facility, including guard stations, administrative offices, cellblocks and other prisoner areas. Devices include pull stations, smoke detectors, including those in the air ducts, light and horn strobes and the tamper and flow switches that monitor the sprinkler system for either tampering or the flow of water. “All the devices are tied together to a central location and are integrated into the security system,” added Gary Swearingen, site superintendent.

Shambaugh tied the security, communications and fire alarm systems together with a fiber optic and copper communications cabling backbone in an outdoor, underground infrastructure. The backbone was terminated in various communications rooms located throughout the facility and in a main administrative office location. “Over 300,000 feet of copper and fiber optic cable were needed to integrate all the systems, which are able to interconnect with each other through open communication protocols,” Whicker said.

During the winter of 2003, the Terre Haute area had near-record amounts of snow, which could have seriously impeded project progress. However, team members met regularly to examine and adjust the construction schedule and corresponding manpower requirements to ensure that the weather was a minor inconvenience rather than a major obstacle. “The general contractor also negotiated an extension of various deadlines for weather delays,” said Maddox.

Since the design of the fiber optic and copper cabling backbone required 2,500 feet runs, Shambaugh had to devise ways to efficiently make those runs without harming the easily-damaged cabling. “The project team set up various pull points throughout the system that were designed to minimize cable stress and ensured that proper equipment rigging was installed in the manholes,” said Whicker. All that extra work enabled the field electricians to install an infrastructure that would pass all of the field testing the first time.

Although Shambaugh has worked on other prison facilities, this was the first federal project that the company has been involved with. Thanks to the subcontractors that Shambaugh assembled, however, the team was able to successfully perform the required installation under a tight construction schedule and testing time-frame. According to Joe Smith, project executive for CHJV and Clark Construction, “Shambaugh’s integration subcontractor has a great depth of experience in the security systems used by federal penitentiaries and is well known and respected for its expertise. Shambaugh performed its work throughout the project both diligently and efficiently,” he concluded.

BREMER, a freelance writer based in Solomons, Md., contributes frequently to ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR. She can be reached at 410.394.6966 or


About the Author

Darlene Bremer

Freelance Writer
Darlene Bremer, a freelance writer based in Solomons, Md., contributed frequently to ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR until the end of 2015.

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