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SCORE Jail

  • Client

    • South Correctional Entity
  • Project Type

Design Achievement - South Correctional Entity (SCORE) detention facility embodies conscientious investment in the public's greater good. DLR Group's design integrates the building into a forested setting near an adjacent creek, articulating a glass-front entry face to create a positive civic presence to staff and public visitors approaching the building. Beyond this front-door civic identity, the design makes effective use of public investment through choices affecting operational flexibility, facilities scope and construction cost choices that reduce the cost per-bed per day to 30 percent below normal rates in the area. The SCORE project sets a new standard for responsible investment in public safety for communities.

Scope Summary - The 164,000 SF SCORE Jail scope encompasses the design of a new 802 bed regional jail for a public development authority that will operate the jail as an autonomous public agency serving seven Washington cities (Auburn, Burien, Des Moines, Federal Way, Renton, SeaTac and Tukwila). Program spaces include a business unit, staff services and training, intake with separate in-out circulation, 28-bed medical infirmary, medical clinic, programs, laundry, shops, food service, video arraignment, video visiting and 14 classifications of housing. DLR Group provided planning, programming, architecture, interiors, and engineering services.

"This is one of those examples of a non-honorific program that...is really re-thought as a public structure... It is clear to us that the design team moved the client to speculate, to create, to rethink security control, which we thought was done in very humane and efficient ways."
 - AIA Jury

A positive civic identity
From the façade to the dayrooms, SCORE’s design represents intentions of dignity, integrity, and seriousness in the detention center’s mission of humane corrections and offender rehabilitation. Visitors approach a distinctive public architecture in stages by sidewalk, slight level changes, and a public entry courtyard. The functionality and durability of the materials used (stainless steel, precast concrete walls, marble and glass) underwrite the public investment, while their articulation create a welcoming exterior and a 17’ transparent lobby volume that create a sense of openness in public spaces instead of containment.

Reception and visitor waiting areas are spacious, and use non-institutional materials materials and finishes. Upward lighting reduces glare and stress. Skylights enliven the space and create a positive human experience. Exposed ceiling structure is both a cost-saving measure as well as a contributor to creating an open sense of space.

Safety and security for humane corrections
The public lobby includes a spacious visiting center offering families extended visiting opportunities through video visiting carrels as well as private visiting rooms. Acoustic baffling on the stainless steel carrels affords privacy when using the time-tested and durable video equipment.

A main 12’ wide corridor introduces the approach to housing and connects all departments within the building. The simplicity of circulation is fundamental to a highly secure and safe building layout. Walls surrounding the departments and housing unit perimeters are precast concrete panels for maximum security and smoke control redundancy.

A central security control room views the housing pods through mirrored one-way security glass in enhanced direct supervision. Staff stations in dayrooms are located directly beneath security control. Providing clear sight lines from the security control room to staff who work in and directly supervise the housing pods increases safety for both staff and offenders. Off-white textured flooring increases the staff’s ability to see into all dayroom areas.

Dayrooms are spacious and meet all ACA guidelines. Extensive upper wall sound proofing, wide mezzanine stair, tall mezzanine railings, stainless steel seating, and extensive skylights create high quality spaces and increase safety. Cell doors feature large security glass windows to improve vision during offender counts.

The typical housing cell is made of a steel skin backed by an internal concrete core. Furniture is welded to the walls for maximum durability. Anti-microbial finishes are used on all surfaces to prevent institutional infections. Off-white striping on the floor leads to fire exits, and glows in the dark as a safety precaution against power outages in emergencies.

Dormitory housing is configured with single beds in the front row to increase visual supervision and safety. Back row beds are separated into four-bed alcoves, which decreases offender conflicts.

A state of the art electronic security system operates all doors and 614 video cameras.

Processing and support areas
A large, vehicular sally port allows quick processing of multiple offender bookings. Faster processing enables law enforcement officers to return to the street as quickly as possible. SCORE maintains specialized transport vehicles for inter-city transport of offenders.

The booking department is equipped with open seating for cooperating offenders in addition to holding cells. Booking officers are situated on a raised platform. Rubber flooring and acoustic treatments on upper walls reduce sound levels, while skylights and up-lighting reduce stress levels in this active, 24-7 environment.

Preliminary court proceedings for arraignment occur in individual private rooms with videoconferencing to judges at each jurisdiction. Large monitors, printers, electronic signature pads, and the presence of the offender’s legal representative enable private legal proceedings.

Medical spaces center on a central nursing station, and offer full-service medical, dental, and special needs treatment with a 29-bed capacity. Features include negative pressure isolation rooms, showers in every cell, and an outpatient medical clinic. The clinic includes a digital x-ray installation and a two-chair dental suite.

Food service facilities are comprehensive with finishes enabling optimum cleanliness. All tall equipment and cooking lines are arranged along room perimeters to allow for exceptional visual supervision. Laundry facilities are sized to handle the full 813 bed occupancy in one work shift per day.

Supporting excellent staff
Design choices respond to SCORE’s desire to create a supportive, positive environment representing the highest caliber of correctional career opportunities. A professional staff entrance lobby separate from the visitors lobby give staff their own private entry sequence, while an adjacent outdoor break area with screened, private courtyard offers opportunities to socialize and take personal moments.

The muster room overlooks the staff courtyard. Furnishings and floor outlets enable flexible use of this space for inter-agency conferences, shift reporting, staff training, and other correctional community exchanges. Full-height glass walls harvest ample daylight for a positive environment, while the outdoor courtyard’s screen provides privacy and security.

A fitness center provides staff with physical training and exercise opportunities. High ceilings and skylights give users daylighting and a sense of openness. Additional staff support amenities include locker capacity for all staff, on-call sleeping rooms, and a staff reporting and business center.  

An administrative department is a free standing business unit responsible for operating the facility, transporting offenders, human resources, and financial services. A board room adjacent to the director’s office in the administrative department provides private space for meetings between representatives of SCORE’s seven communities.

Design for cost-effectiveness in construction and operations
The jail entity is a Public Development Authority and is an autonomous public agency. Jail costs will be apportioned to the cities on the basis of the amount of bed use by each city. From day to day when the degree of bed use indicates vacancies, the extra capacity will be released for use by non-member jurisdictions. The per-bed per-day cost to be charged back to the cities is the basic programmatic and financial basis of the project. This daily cost includes the cost to develop, build, operate, and pay down the bond financing.

These costs have been firmly managed to produce a competitive rate some 30% below the rates normal in the region. The cost management initiatives include:

  1. Operations: The jail is planned for the flexibility of operating under either direct supervision and/or indirect supervision modes. This operational staffing flexibility reduces the staffing required at certain times of the day thereby reducing operating costs. The supervision mode can be selected to suit the supervisory needs of each classification unit or can be selected to suit the activity level in daily cycles. The night shift will be exclusively operated in the indirect mode with assisting rovers doing bed checks.
  2. Facilities Scope: The jail is a full-service freestanding facility that must operate on its own. There is a business unit, staff services and training, 14 housing classifications, intake with separate in-out circulation, 29 bed medical infirmary, medical clinic, programs, laundry, shops, food service, private video arraignment, and public video visiting departments. The horizontal layout of the jail provides great efficiency of circulation and space use. The 164,000 GSF facility averages less than 220 GSF per bed.
  3. Construction Cost: The space efficiency of the plan reduces the total cost. The level of quality and durability is very high with concrete exterior and concrete internal departmental division walls, medium and maximum security construction throughout, extensive security control and video systems, emergency power, and so on. The construction has the 50 year minimum life expected of of a state level correctional facility. The construction cost for the 2011 operational date is less than $65,000 per bed or $ 56 million dollars.


This jail design is of high quality but is configured to allow the operator the greatest staffing flexibility for low cost operations, staff and inmate safety, and positive programmatic and environmental conditions. The cost efficiency of this facility sets a new standard for communities wanting to determine what is the appropriate investment expected of the community.

Awards & Recognition

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  • Citation Award

    American Institute of Architects (AIA) Washington Council
  • Commendation Award

    American Institute of Architects (AIA) Seattle
  • Award of Merit (unbuilt)

    Engineering News Record magazine

SCORE Jail

Client
South Correctional Entity