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being occasioned by failure to receive the steel work in time required. It is expected now, however, that notwithstanding the delay thus occasioned, the roof will be on and the work will be in such condition that the interior work may be carried on during the winter, and with this idea in view requests for proposals were published for heating and steam connections to machinery, plumbing, electric-light wiring and fixtures for the building. Although the ground area of the new building will be 65x285 feet, as compared with 85x285 feet of the old building, a part of the old building was but one story in height, while the new building will be two stories throughout. By reason of this difference in construction the new building will have 3,000 square feet of floor space more than the old one, which had but 34,000 square feet as compared with 37,000 square feet for the new building. The additional room in the new structure admits of better lighting and ventilation than did the old building. When the new shop building is completed the reformatory will be in better condition than ever before for doing profitable work, as it will have accommodation for a clothing shop sufficient to make clothing not alone for the inmates of the reformatory, but for the other charitable institutions.
Work on the new spillway was not begun until June. Since that time good progress has been made and the actual work of the construction of the spillway proper was practically competed before the advent of cold weather. The filling in of the old spillway and some grading around the new one will have to go over until next spring, but the spillway will be in condition. to take care of any drainage from the reservoir that may be necessary.
The capacity of the new spillway is approximately three times
that of the old one.
This work, as well as that of the new domestic building, has been performed entirely by inmate labor, under the supervision of officers, the average number employed being as follows: 1905, June, 35; July, 50; August, 39; September, 34; making an average of about 40 inmates employed at this work. The fact that the reformatory has been able to construct this spillway with inmate labor for $1,000 less than the amount of the appropriation is particularly gratifying for the reason that the proposals received for doing the work under contract were largely in excess of the amount appropriated, so that no contract could be let for the work.
The construction of this new spillway was necessitated by the fact that in times of heavy rains the reservoir caused much inconvenience and loss by overflowing the banks of the old spillway, which was quite inadequate. The new one will be of such ample proportions as to answer every purpose, even in the most stormy seasons. Its length is about four hundred feet. At the end connecting with the reservoir the width is fifty feet and the depth fifteen feet. From the apron the spillway tapers gradually to a width of twenty-seven feet, with a depth of six feet. On the floor is a series of steps of considerable depth, designed to break the force of the water in times of sudden and heavy overflows. Twentyfive hundred cubic yards, equivalent to twenty-five hundred wagon loads, had to be excavated, this work being accomplished with wheelbarrows and tramways. After the excavation was completed the tops and walls were lined with cement one foot in thickness. One thousand barrels of cement were used in making the seven hundred cubic yards of paving required.
How well the inmates enjoyed this work on the spillway is described by a writer in the "Summary," the reformatory paper. In the course of a very interesting and instructive article he says: "Immediately after breakfast the spillway men gathered at the center gate for roll call and line formation. These preliminaries occupied but a few moments, and ere the balance of the population had left the dining halls the crew was without the massive gates and climbing the steep hill in the rear of the reformatory.
"It is no mean distance to the institutional reservoir, but the exercise of the tramp, coupled with the beauty of the surrounding country and the brightly dawning morning proved conducive to heightening the exuberant spirits of those plodding along toward the faithful discharge of their day's duties. One might have even thought that the crowd was journeying forth on a holiday picnic, rather than to many hours of steady and industrious toil. Probably a mile of hilly roads was traversed before the destination was reached and the field of action at hand.
"Then it was that we learned why the spillway gang had become an importantly recognized factor....
"A gigantic spillway to the reservoir is being built upon purely scientific and modern plans. Architect Kleitz is engineering the construction, while Officer Bartlett has superintended the operations since work began some two months ago.
"It must have been about half past seven o'clock when the gang climbed the last hill overlooking their work last Tuesday morning, and in less time than it takes to tell the members had formed themselves into the regular sections and reliefs. At a word from their captain the labor began, and the lively sound of picks striking forceful blows on hard substances mingled with the pleasant
scrape, scrape, of shovels and scarcely abated until some hawkeyed individual caught a fleeting glimpse of a faraway object which after a seemingly interminable time developed into the "dinner-wagon."
"When fifty men spend many consecutive days on a job, away from all conveniences, many improvised accommodations must be afforded, and the facilities of the "camp" were most interesting. Situated upon a large plateau is a spacious "shanty," which serves as dining-room, kitchen and tool-house. Dishes, enough, and more to go around, are kept in immaculate condition by one especially designated as "chef;" so when the wagon arrives with the piping hot and substantial meal such a rush is made as would cause a dyspeptic to groan aloud and wish that he were dead. It is needless to say that more than justice was done to the food, and then the "boys" assembled to watch some hundred odd pigs, located thirty or forty yards away, devour the scraps with much gusto and harsh squealing; an occurrence that never fails to furnish recreation and amusement.
"It was a most gratifying experience to observe the genial and unrestrained atmosphere hovering about men who were so ambitiously laboring, many of them, perchance, just learning the real meaning of manual labor. In our country, where penal servitors engaged at work outside of institutions are so obviously, even flagrantly, prisoners, it was indeed a genuine satisfaction to note and reflect upon the spillway gang's resemblance to an independent corps of free outsiders.
"Many of the men are distinguishing themselves as extraordinarily efficient and ready toilers, but so excellent and willing is the spirit of the crew as a whole that it would be an injustice to especially mention any."
ORGANIZATION OF A PURCHASING COMMITTEE.
One of the important developments of the year was the organization of a Purchasing Committee, consisting of six superintendents representing the institutions under the supervision of this Department, which has charge of awarding all contracts for supplies.
In my report to the Legislature last year, I pointed out the desirability of such a committee when I stated: "For the purpose of simplifying the making of contracts, I think that additional powers should be given to the various institutions through their representatives to the extent that the making of one contract should suffice for all instead of having fifteen or sixteen separate contracts as at present. Such a change, I believe, would induce many bidders, who at present are deterred by the amount of detail involved in the execution of contracts, to submit proposals for supplies."
A recommendation looking to this same end was contained in the first annual message of Governor Higgins, and the enactment of chapter 457 of the Laws of 1905 resulted.
Chapter 457 provides that "between the first day of July and the 30th day of September in each year the Fiscal Supervisor shall call the superintendents of the State charitable institutions, the Elmira Reformatory and the New York State School for the Blind, to meet at his office in Albany. The Fiscal Supervisor shall notify the president of the board of managers or trustees of each State charitable institution, of the Elmira Reformatory and of the New York State School for the Blind, at least ten days in advance, of such meeting of the superintendents, and each such president may designate a member of the