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Groundbreaking for the DOC center in Waurika

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WAURIKA, OK._ Ground was broken Wednesday afternoon for a brand new Department of Corrections facility in Waurika.

The new work center will house around 150 low-security inmates.

The purpose of the facility is to properly prepare these men and women to re-enter society.

Planning for this project began about a year ago.

City Manager Chuck Brown says the benefits the DOC will bring to the small community will be well worth the wait.

Part of the appeal is helping these inmates get back on their feet, but the financial gain for the small town is just huge.

Brown says the new facility will make a two million dollar impact to Waurika.

And when you are talking about a town with a population just breaking 2,000, $2 million is the difference between staying afloat...and sinking.

"You see towns dying out there. And we're not dying. We're living. And this just breathes life blood into our economy and it's an exciting time," said Brown.

City, state and DOC representatives were part of Wednesday's ceremony.

After a few words of gratitude from Brown, the crew grabbed their golden shovels and dug in.

There will be no delay on getting these doors opened.

"We've got the (foundation) block here. We've got the last word from the architects about where the doors and windows are going to be, so we're fixing to start laying block and we're fixing to get this thing built," said Brown.

DOC representative Reginald Hines says when the facility is up and running in about 8 months, the inmates will work around Waurika and neighboring cities, instead of hired professionals.

"They can do grass cutting. They can do painting. Some of them even have skills such as plumbing and electrical skills. It allows the offenders to develop skills and those that do have skills are allowed to utilize those skills. It allows the offenders to give something back to the state of Oklahoma, instead of being a burden to the state of Oklahoma," said Hines.

Hines says this is the real money maker.

"The cost for these offenders, the community's paying an average of $15-$20 a month for these offenders. If you put that on an economic scale of what you would pay for a regular worker, you save thousands. City managers say they probably save millions of dollars for the community with the services they provide," said Hines.  

There are 15 DOC centers across the state, each one really boosting the economy of the town it is located in and small neighboring communities.

Waurika was the location of the first-ever DOC center in Oklahoma.


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