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Corrections transforms offices into ghoulish labyrinths

Department of Corrections offices at Stewart were unrecognizable this week, with both buildings converted by staffers into ghoulish labyrinths.

The denizens of Building 89, the old stone structure which houses most of the department’s central staff, won top honors in the competition with an over-the-top fright house that took over the entire building.

Students from Seeliger Elementary and the state Children’s Home toured the darkened halls, dodging talking skulls, dangling spider webs, jars of fake body parts and a blood spattered morgue.

Staff members dressed as everything from zombies to vampires guided visitors through the maze.

Building 89 and the newer Building 17, which houses personnel, medical, offender management and his offices, were littered with mangled bodies, evil creatures of the night and zombies prowling the halls.

And according to Director of Corrections Howard Skolnik, they did it all on their own time and their own dime.

“People have been coming in almost five weeks on weekends,” he said. “I just got tapped for 60 bucks and I don’t even know what I paid for.”

Skolnik said the decorations were deputy Lori Bagwell’s idea of a morale booster and he said it’s been a great shot in the arm for a staff that daily deals with some of the most difficult and unhappy problems in the state.

“They really got into it,” he said.

Although less heavily decorated, the administrative Building 17 was also a bizarre scene for a state office building. The theme throughout was death and evil from beyond the grave ” especially in the medical section.

On the walls, bloody handprints. On the floor, police-style body outlines. In Skolnik’s office, tombstones bearing his name and the names of the three previous directors.

On one shelf in the morgue was a re-labeled volume of Nevada Revised Statutes: “Embalming for Dummies.”

At the other end of Building 89 was the chop shop, the cafeteria featuring today’s special: Kenny’s arm.

“Normal people are not welcome,” said a sign on one wall.

Skolnik said he doubts there are that many normal people among the enthusiastic staff who created the scenes.

While the overall award went to Building 89, three other awards went to offender management, medical and personnel, all in Building 17.

Asked about cleanup, Bagwell said: “Oh, we’ve been dreading that part.”

But Skolnik said things should be back to normal in a few days after Halloween.

– Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.