New cost figures for new prison

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The Iowa Department of Corrections officials say they weren’t trying to mislead the public when they refused to acknowledge for months that the price tag for the state’s faulty new prison had risen to 166-million dollars.

The department confirmed this week that an often cited 132-million dollar cost for the empty Iowa State Penitentiary was inaccurate.

Deputy department director Brad Hier had stood by that figure during an October interview……….even though talking points prepared by Governor Branstad months earlier put the cost at 165.5 million dollars.

Hier says he blames miscommunications and semantics for confusion over the cost and apologized for a months long delay in clearing up questions.   He says 132-milolion dollars reflected construction costs at one point…… but the price rises when project management, design, equipment and other costs are included.