HENDRY COUNTY, Fla. - An abandoned prison will soon be the latest military training facility in the country. Last month, a Naples business man bought the property from the state.
He recently got the keys and gave WINK News an exclusive look inside.
"We're getting underway to get this place back up to par. Getting the grass cut, the buildings cleaned up, the lights back on and we'll be in business" said Brian Jones, the President and CEO of ALTAIR Training Solutions.
For 34 years, prisoners served time at the Hendry Correctional Institution until the state closed it in 2011 due to budget cuts.
The abandoned property has 65 buildings. The majority of the inmates were housed inside 3 buildings. "Those were main lock ups, where they held over 1,000 prisoners at a time in there."
The cells had single and 2 man rooms, it also had a few showers in each wing.
Other prisoners were held in the Class/Med building. "It looked like they had the criminally insane in there."
Those cells kept inmates in the dark. "They didn't have lights in their cells. It looks like sky lights were the only light they got."
Also inside that building were medical exam rooms and the dentist. "I don't think we'll use that but just kind of an idea for seal training, for prisoner war training, that would be a good chair to sit someone in to make them talk. You know all of us have been to the dentist, it's not a pleasant thing."
Jones said he plans to use these buildings for advanced military training. "They do seal training, where they train guys that in an event they ever got captured, how to conduct their self and those are some of they type of areas they like to use."
Jones tells WINK News the facility will be ready by September. He already has their first training mission lined up, t includes air operations like parashooting and closed quarters combat.