WWMT Newschannel 3 - Search Results
Robot breaks down cells, helps with renovation at Kalamazoo County Jail
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) Theres been a big jail break in west Michigan.
The walls and bars are coming down in a cell block of the Kalamazoo County Jail.
But theres nothing to fear, this is all part of the jail construction project, building a new facility and renovating old sections.
All this week, the walls that have kept in thousands of inmates over the last 41 years are coming down.
When we build a facility, we build it to last and this building was constructed very well to last for a long time. Unfortunately, systems change and we had to replace this section of our building, said Sheriff Richard Fuller.
Workers have been tasked with removing eight holding cells, solid cement from floor to ceiling, with walls four inches thick.
The cells were so sturdy, jail bars weighing 150 lbs. per section had to be blown off.
Sheriff Fuller said taking down the concrete fortress has proved to be a big challenge for construction workers.
They tried a couple different things. It was very labor intensive, Fuller said.
So Miller-Davis Construction brought in a new worker to the project, a robot named Brokk.
With the robot, they are able to stand further away from the construction and do it at a quicker pace. And have the robot stand there and knock the walls down, Fuller said.
Brokk relies on an operator to make him work.
The robot also crushes up the cement, making it easier for workers to remove.
Sheriff Fuller said this is saving the county thousands of dollars.
Without this, you're going to use 4-5 times amount of the manual labor and it's going to take 4-5 times longer to complete, Fuller said.
Built in 1972, the former holding area is going to be transformed into a modern housing facility.
It's going to be a pod-like area or dorm for up to 40 inmates. It will likely be for the inmate workers or possibly one of our programs we're running, Fuller said.
The sheriff said they're still waiting on getting services in place before the new jail is fully operational but right now some areas are already being used.
It's a huge change in how we do business, Fuller said.
He said Friday is the last day the robot will be used in the renovation.