Nearly 100 employees are working on construction at the new state prison site near Gunnison, but the number will rise to 240 by October.

A report by the Six County Office of Planning and Economic Development notes that construction of the regional prison is on schedule with a $6.1 million program under way now, to be increased to $27.3 million by the end of the year.Peak construction employment in the first phase of the project is expected by March and April of 1989, when 400 workers will be on the job. The first phase will be completed at the end of this year by the 240 workers.

State officials expect to spend $87.7 million by September 1990.

The report notes that base employment to operate the prison will reach 250 by May 1990. The first employment will include ten people in August, 1989. By December it will increase to 150, and then to 200 by February 1990.

Some 70 percent of the employees will be hired locally and 30 percent will come to the area.

Officials said projects indicate that 60 percent of the new population that moves in to take jobs will live in the south Sanpete County area. About 35 percent are expected to reside in Sevier County, and 5 percent in Juab and Utah counties.

About 720 more people are expected to move to the area by May 1990 because of job opportunities. Those people will complete the first two phases.

It was also noted that information and educational courses that will help those in seeking work at the prison are being offered by Snow College in Ephraim, Sevier Valley Tech area vocational schools in Richfield and the Utah Office of Employment Security.

Meanwhile, the fourth bid package has been opened for construction of the laundry, kitchen and other buildings. The low bidder was Thorup Construction Co. at $2,118,524. Valley Builders bid $2,139,700 and Steinbeik Construction bid $2,149,400.

The low bidder is on location, completing the first phase of the ground preparation. It was reported that 14 companies placed bids on the fourth package.

The contract calls for completion in 280 days with a $500 per day penalty for not completing the project within the specified time period.

More than half of the amount on bid package four will be spent to purchase laundry and food preparation equipment. Some 30 to 50 workers will be required to complete the contract.

The next phase of construction at the prison will be for a warehouse, vehicle maintenance facility, car port, dog kennels, and an entrance control station. Cost is estimated at $2 million.

The sixth bid package will be for the main housing unit, a 200,000 square-foot building at an estimated cost of $15 million. This may be bid as early as September.