Dallas-based Balfour Beatty Construction and its San Diego-based division, Barnhart Balfour Beatty, have been awarded a $221.5 million contract to build the first phase of a county-run women’s detention facility in Santee.

A Sept. 15 statement from Barnhart Balfour Beatty said the project consists of 34 buildings across 45 acres. The 1,216-bed facility will replace the 1960s-era Las Colinas Detention Facility, the primary point of intake for women prisoners in San Diego County.

Eric Stenman, president of Barnhart Balfour Beatty, said the company has built more than 55 prisons, jails and courthouses in 10 states and the District of Columbia.

Stenman said the four-year construction project is expected to create an estimated 700 jobs and require the services of more than 60 local subcontractors. Pre-construction work will begin this month, with completion expected in October 2015.

The companies will be involved in the first of a planned two-phase project. The complex will aim for Gold LEED certification and incorporate design innovations including clusters of smaller-scale housing units grouped according to detention levels, supporting various security classifications.

— Lou Hirsh