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Halliburton Gets Gitmo Contract

A subsidiary of Houston-based Halliburton (search) has been awarded a $30 million contract to build an improved 220-bed prison for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay (search), Cuba, the Pentagon announced.

Kellogg Brown and Root Services Inc. (search) of Arlington, Va., is to build a two-story prison that includes day rooms, exercise areas, medical bays, air conditioning and a security control room, according to the Pentagon. It is to be completed by July 2006.

Congress previously approved the funding for the construction job. Some members, along with human rights groups, are now calling for Guantanamo to close because of reports of prisoner abuse`It is also expected to require less manpower to operate."

The new prison building, called Detention Camp .6, will replace some of the older facilities at the Navy base, which officials say are not adequate for holding prisoners for the long term.

The total contract could be worth up to $500 million through 2010, the Pentagon said. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic, in Norfolk, Va., is the contracting agency.

About 520 prisoners from the Bush administration's war on terrorism are held at Guantanamo. Already, $110 million has been spent on construction there, and the prison costs about $95 million a year to operate.

White House officials have said there are no plans to close the facility because the detainees being held there are too dangerous to release while the war on terror continues.