The roof on Schuylkill County's 163-year-old prison was last replaced in the mid-1980s as part of a project that enlarged the stone building.
On Wednesday, county commissioners awarded the job of putting a new roof on the prison to Budget Renovations & Roofing, of Shamokin, for $404,975.
The money will come from the county's capital improvements fund and a $21-million 2012 bond issue.
The bond issue included $159,600 for the roof replacement, said county finance director Paul Buber.
Budget submitted the lowest of six bidders for the work.
The other bidders were TGW, Pine Grove, $432,000; Houck Construction, Lancaster, $431,900; RT General Roofing, Mckeesport, $492,500; Banes Roofing, Telford, $489,930. The other company, Warko Roofing, Reading, submitted a base bid of $466,400, but did not include prices for other work as part of its bid.
County administrator Mark Scarbinsky said officials would meet with architect Yong Cheol Kim of Y Kim Associates, Pottsville, to iron out details.
Scarbinsky said he expects the installation of the rubber roof to begin in spring.
Commissioner George F. Halcovage Jr., who directed a prison board meeting following the commissioners' meeting Wednesday, said the county would create a Building and Safety Committee to oversee security during the project.
The committee would include deputy Warden David Wapinsky, engineer Lisa Mahall and William Liptok, head of the Public Works department.
District Attorney Christine Holman would be chairwoman of the committee.
Halcovage said he would ask others to volunteer.
Halcovage stood in for the prison board chairman, President Judge William E. Baldwin, who was presiding over guilty pleas when the meeting began.
The bid award came at a commissioner's work session. Those meetings are generally reserved solely for discussion of matters commissioners expect to vote on at their regular meeting.
On occasion, commissioners cast votes at work sessions. In this case, the project needed to be approved in order to move it along as quickly as possible.
The prison, on Sanderson Street in Pottsville, across from the county courthouse, has the capacity to house 277 inmates. As of Wednesday, it held 273.