Kitchen Renovation Underway At Tulsa County Jail

Monday, June 14th 2010, 5:29 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Tulsa County is paying $2 million to rebuild the kitchen at the county jail.  It's being gutted and rebuilt, just 11 years after it was built new.

"What he had are some structural flaws in the old kitchen that we had," said Sergeant Shannon Clark, Tulsa County. "We had some pipes in there that was causing the steam to deteriorate the tile and grout flooring and we had some moisture get in behind the sub walls."

Those problems, and the wear and tear of preparing 5,000 meals a day, eventually forced the County to start a six-month renovation.

In the old kitchen, the menu had to change about once a week because equipment would break down. In the new kitchen, the meals will be lower in calories, and higher in nutrition.

See what's on the jail menu 

"All products are baked or boiled for them," said Hattye Lee, Assistant Food Service Director. "More salads, more fresh produce."

The jail kitchen uses 15 inmates at a time to do most of the work, with oversight by kitchen staff and sheriff's deputies.

The old kitchen had lots of hiding places, but the new kitchen will be wide open to make it easier to watch over inmates.

"And that way, any person standing in the kitchen, in a 360-degree radius can be sure they're watching all the inmates in there," Clark said.

Partly because inmates provide the labor, each meal costs just $1.05.

The new kitchen is costing $2 million, but the county believes it will help improve the food quality, keep costs low, and with a better design, last longer than the first one.

The cost of the kitchen renovation comes out of taxes paid to the county.  It's on track now to be done by the beginning of August.