Carbon County officials are working to make sure county inmates remain healthy.

During the monthly meeting of the Carbon County Prison Board on Wednesday, the board discussed purchasing an air conditioning system at a cost of $8,450 for the special housing block. L&S Electric provided the quote.

Warden Joseph Gross explained that the reason for the need for the air conditioning system in that block is because a medical issue with 32 inmates occurred within the last seven to 10 days.

He said that he could not go into further detail about the issue because of HIPPA.

What was revealed to the board was that the medical issue is under control and the nursing staff suggested that one of the factors that played a roll in the issue was the lack of air circulation in the block. The special block is the former gymnasium, which was transformed into a housing unit to accommodate the growing inmate population.

Gross said he discussed the matter with Commissioners William O'Gurek and Wayne Nothstein; as well as county administrator Eloise Ahner.

"We don't want the medical issue to pop up once again, so we have to move forward to make the air circulation better," he said.

Currently, the prison has three industrial fans in the block to circulate air.

Charles Neff, maintenance supervisor at the prison, said the air conditioning unit would be between 60 and 69,000 BTUs, which would be sufficient in that area.

Gross said that he believes the quote the county received from L&S is a minor cost when it deals with medical issues.

O'Gurek said that the commissioners think corrective action should be taken.

Commissioner Thomas J. Gerhard asked if the money was in the budget for the project.

O'Gurek said that it was not, but it is a necessary purchase.

The board then voted to recommend to the commissioners that they accept the contract for the air conditioning system by L&S Electric.

In other matters, the board discussed the lighting project that is to take place at the prison, located on the Broad Mountain in Nesquehoning.

Neff said that last Thursday, lighting representatives came in and went through the facility, looking at the lighting.

The board talked about the differences in the bulbs that will be used and the cost savings related to the changeover.

They also looked into the rebates currently offered by PPL and if they would still qualify if they completed the retrofit of all lighting themselves.