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      Detention center expansion to create new jobs

      Construction is on a roll for the new addition to the East Hidalgo County Detention Center in La Villa.

      It TMs going to be a big boom to our community and our county, said Ramon Garcia, Hidalgo County Judge Elect.

      It will create 50 new jobs and house 360 new beds, bringing the center TMs capacity to 1350.

      They anticipate completing construction in 6 months, so that they can open the new facility by January.

      Warden Elberto Bravo said there TMs a great need because the detention center houses much of the overflow from the Hidalgo County Sheriff TMs office and U.S. Marshals Service.

      Hidalgo County Judge Elect Ramon Garcia helped lead the groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion.

      It TMs unfortunate that crime is increasing, but that TMs just the way it is, he said.

      Michael LeBlanc is the president of LCS Corrections Services, which owns the detention center.

      The area has a lot of influx from the border and the demand has been growing ever since we TMve been here 8 years ago, said LeBlanc.

      Along with meeting housing needs, LeBlanc said the addition will boost the local economy.

      I think when you look back at the fact that we have over 200 employees here and we TMre going to have another 50, it TMs an impact of about 5 and a half million dollars in annual payroll, said LeBlanc.

      The expansion is expected to open in January 2011.

      They will be hiring security and corrections officers.

      Requirements are that they be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma and no criminal background.

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