Official: Jail kitchen remodel in final stages

By Kevin Baird
CNJ staff writer
kbaird@cnjonline.com

CNJ staff photo: Kevin Baird Foreman Ty Johnston of American Stainless Equipment treats the seams of stainless steel walls in the remodeled kitchen in the Curry County jail while Michael Santillanes wriggles through a pass though to treat the other side of the wall. When the kitchen is operational, inmates will drop their trays off at this pass through.

CNJ staff photo: Kevin Baird
Foreman Ty Johnston of American Stainless Equipment treats the seams of stainless steel walls in the remodeled kitchen in the Curry County jail while Michael Santillanes wriggles through a pass though to treat the other side of the wall. When the kitchen is operational, inmates will drop their trays off at this pass through.

The kitchen remodeling project at the Curry County jail is in its final stages, and the kitchen will be ready to operate pending an inspection from a state fire marshall on Tuesday, according to Two Horse Construction President Wayne Petner.

“If everything goes well,” said County Manager Lance Pyle. “The detention center kitchen will be operating next week.”

Foreman Shandy Petner of Two Horse Construction said the exhaust hood above the stoves and ovens needs to be completed, he was hopeful the stainless steel surfaces would be in place on Friday.

Wayne Petner said the fans needed for the exhaust hood were backordered, causing a slight delay. “We just got them,” Wayne Petner said about the fans on Friday.

Shandy Petner said the surfaces and floors will, which are dirty from construction, still need to be cleaned, too.

State environmental inspectors cited the county more than a year ago with numerous major health and safety violations. The then-acting chief of the state department threatened to shut down the kitchen — which serves more than 600 meals daily — unless the county made a serious commitment to fix it.

The project has now ballooned to $477,000, including $16,000 paid to kitchen design consultant Masterplan Food Services of Dallas. The remodeling project was stalled for over two weeks due to the county not having the required building permits. The county eventually paid $8,000 to an Albuquerque architectural firm to obtain the necessary stamped architectural drawings required to obtain permits. These figures don’t include the $225 a day the county is paying American Legion Post 117 for use of their kitchen to prepare inmate meals.

Petner said he can finish the project by Aug. 31. If he doesn’t, the county’s contract imposes a $250 a day liquidated damages fine for each day it takes to finish the renovation.