WASILLA - A groundbreaking ceremony was planned Wednesday for the new state prison at Point McKenzie, even though work has already started on the project.
Neeser Construction has already started clearing the Matanuska-Susitna Borough site for the $240-million Goose Creek Correctional Center.
"They held off on doing the official groundbreaking until the weather was a little bit more conducive," Borough purchasing officer Russ Krafft told the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman. "Right now it's easy to tell it's a construction site."
The new 430,000-square-foot facility will have 1,536 beds for male prisoners.
Plans call for three buildings to be framed and enclosed by the first snowfall so workers can do interior work next winter.
The three buildings likely to be worked on first are be an administration building, a service building and a warehouse.
The same process will be used for remaining buildings next summer.
"They're anticipating that Department of Corrections will start putting inmates in there by February or March of 2012," Krafft said.
The borough sold $240 million in bonds to pay for the prison. It will sell the prison to the state in installments, with the state receiving ownership in 25 years.
Borough officials estimate the prison will provide 600 to 700 construction jobs, and about 350 permanent jobs once it's open.