WINDHAM, N.H. — The Executive Council has approved a $2.4 million design contract with a Maine firm for a new women’s prison in New Hampshire.

The contract with SMRT Inc. of Portland was approved at Wednesday’s meeting in Windham.

The company is expected to complete plans for the prison in 2014. Construction would start the following year, with the prison opening in 2016.

The 224-bed prison and transitional facility will be located in Concord near the men’s prison. The project will cost $38 million.

The Concord Monitor reports SMRT designed the women’s unit at the Maine Correctional Center, as well as four county jails in New Hampshire.

SMRT also designed the Gulf of Maine Reserach Institute on the Portland waterfront, and is leading the Cumberland County Civic Center’s current $33 million renovation.

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