GABRIELS — Three organizations have visited Camp Gabriels considering possible reuse of the closed prison, according to a new reuse report.

But the facility may end up being demolished.



SITE VISITS

In July, the Federal Bureau of Prisons visited Camp Gabriels, reviewing its potential as a federal minimum-security camp.

“Unfortunately, DOCS recently learned that the Bureau of Prisons has determined this site will not meet their needs,” the report issued Thursday by the Department of Correctional Services states.

The report says representatives from Fort Drum and the U.S. Army, with the National Guard, toured the site on Aug. 8, reviewing possible reuse as a simulated training location.

On Sept. 2, the Mt. Sun Solar Co. contacted DOCS to discuss Camp Gabriels as a possible location for the fabrication of solar panels.

“Mt. Sun Solar company officials have continued to express interest in the site and have been referred to the appropriate Office of General Services representatives for further exploration,” the reuse report said.

DOCS continues to make the Gabriels campus available for inspection to all interested parties, the report continues.



DEMOLITION POSSIBLE

“There are other state regulatory agencies (such as Department of Environmental Conservation or the Adirondack Park Agency) who have jurisdiction and would need to be involved in any final decision.”

Based on the level of interest so far, DOCS expects it “is reasonable to anticipate difficulty in attracting a responsible party for reutilization,” according to the report.

It concludes by saying the state would consider demolishing and removing the buildings, restoring the site with topsoil and seeding.

“Should that action be warranted, the State Division of Budget, DOCS’s design and construction consultant, and the Office of General Services will be involved.”

The property has several historic buildings dating its early 20th-century use as a sanatorium for people curing tuberculosis.

This month, DOCS will be conducting radar inspection of the grounds and taking soil samples to see if any old fuel tanks are on the property.



PRISON SINCE 1981

The 92-acre site Camp Gabriels is classified as “state administrative” in the State Land Master Plan and is a 46-building, “campus-like” installation purchased in 1981 by the state from Paul Smith’s College.

At full capacity, the prison held some 330 minimum-security prisoners, locally called “Camp Men,” who did community-service jobs in surrounding towns as they received vocational and educational training.

Camp Gabriels was vacated on July 1.

“All equipment and supplies have been or will shortly be removed,” DOCS report said.

“The buildings will be secured against the elements. Heat would have to be continued, which requires electricity, fire suppression/detection and wastewater treatment. However, those are precisely the services the decommissioning plan recommends be terminated because of the lack of resources available to the state.”

Camp Gabriels was one of three prisons closed — along with Mt. McGregor and Camp Pharsalia — in an effort to “right size” correctional services.

In the report, DOCS said it was able to successfully place 252 of 262 displaced employees from all three locations.

Ten civilian staff left their state jobs but remain eligible for re-employment lists maintained by Civil Service.



E-mail Kim Smith Dedam at:

kdedam@pressrepublican.com

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