Building Briefs

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• Officials are weighing options to replace the 100-year-old jail in Sullivan County, N.Y. New York’s Legislature approved the purchase of 50 acres in the Town of Thompson for about $1.2 million for a new jail. The state’s Commission of Correction is advising the county on the design of a new jail, which would house 250 beds and could cost up to $100 million. The commission is holding public meetings to outline the county’s options.

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• Officials in Raleigh, N.C., are trying to identify ways to cut costs on the planned Clarence E. Lightner Public Safety Center. By reducing the size of the proposed building by one floor down to 16 stories, costs have been cut by $27 million so far on the 302,000-square-foot facility. The facility, which currently carries a price tag of $205 million, will house the Raleigh Police Department, Raleigh Fire Department, 911 communications center and other emergency services. Plans call for the center to be built on the site where the police department is now headquartered. Demolition of the building is scheduled to get under way in March.

• The Meherrin River Regional Jail Authority has started negotiations with English Construction of Lynchburg, Va., to build a new regional jail in Alberta, Va. The new jail is planned with a rated capacity of 408 beds at $100 million, however, the project still needs to get approval at the state level for additional funding. The facility is slated to be built on a 127-acre site and it would serve Brunswick, Dinwiddie and Mecklenburg counties. In hopes of making the jail more financially feasible, plans were scaled back from an 800-bed facility, which is what the Meherrin River Regional Jail Authority originally wanted.


• Administrators in Oconee County, S.C., are touring state-of-the-art detention facilities throughout the state as they weigh options for a new facility. A consultant’s study presented the county with three options to expand jail space, including building a new 287-bed replacement facility for $17.4 million. The county council is aiming to lock down a plan that would cost taxpayers no more than $10 million.

• Officials in Bibb County, Ga., are fielding proposals for a management firm to supervise a planned $83.6 million courthouse project that has not yet been funded. Representatives from Heery International and Gleeds America, both of Atlanta, have made pitches at recent public meetings. The county is nearing a deadline to finalize a special purpose local option sales tax vote for July 20 that would pay for the courthouse. Some architecture firms have also evaluated sites for the facility and are drafting rough designs for the project, which calls for a main courthouse and a smaller juvenile court facility near the existing jail.


• Officials in Elkhart County, Ind., are considering a proposal to build a new juvenile detention facility adjacent to the county jail and new sheriff’s headquarters just south of Elkhart, Ind. The project carries a tentative price tag of $3 million, which would be paid for with existing county funds, and leaders hope work can begin later this year. The current juvenile detention facility is in Goshen, Ind.

• County supervisors hired Bracke-Hayes-Miller-Mahon Architects of Moline, Ill., for the juvenile court administration project at the Scott County Jail in Davenport, Iowa. The 8,500-square-foot project carries as estimated cost of $817,00 to $965,000. The third floor of the jail’s addition, which was completed back in 1983, will be converted from jail cells and an outdoor recreation area into office spaces. The project calls for a roof to be built over the recreation area and demolition of several reinforced concrete walls and welded-down bunk buds. Construction is slated to begin 60 days after the demolition contract is bid.


• Voters in Oklahoma County, Okla., will be asked to approve a half-cent or one-cent tax increase sometime between May and July to fund construction of a new jail. An estimated $350 million is needed for construction and there is concern that if voters don’t voluntarily pay for a new jail, the federal government will step in and force property tax increases to fund the project without a vote.

• MW Builders of Temple, Texas, came in as the low bidder for the second phase a jail expansion project at the Midland County Central Detention Center in Midland, Texas. With a bid at $14.14 million, the construction firm must now complete a financial report before a contract is signed to build the 216-bed jail on the south side of the central unit by mid-2011. The project calls for three 72-bed housing units to be built inside a permanent tent jail. This phase of the project includes the construction of an pre-engineered metal building, a metal roof and architecture matching the existing central unit.


• State leaders in Wyoming plan to authorize up to $8 million of federal stimulus money for Natrona County to develop a juvenile detention center. The $11 million project calls for a 24-bed center next to the adult jail on Bruce Lane in Casper, Wyo. The county has an additional $3 million pledged toward the construction to cover the remaining costs. Shosh and Amundsen Architects are revising plans leading up to the groundbreaking, which is expected to begin in June. The county hopes to put the project out to bid by April.


• Officials in Lyon County, Nev., are considering 10 proposals for a construction manager to design a build a new county jail. The current proposal calls for a 45,000 square-foot facility on 3.5 acres of vacant land north of the existing jail. The Lyon County Detention Facility will include a 160-256 bed housing pod, reception area, sally port, and booking and medical facilities. The jail committee will also consider some remodeling projects at the existing facility. The committee plans to make a final recommendation to the Lyon County Board of Commissioners in late February. Clemons-Rutherford & Associates, Inc. of Tallahassee, Fla., signed on as architect for the project last August and is scheduled to have schematic drawings ready in time for the construction manager selection.

• State officials in Alaska approved $9.5 million in funding to renovate the Johnson Youth Center and bring the facility up to current safety and security standards. The funds will be used to tackle the first phase of a proposed three-phase $17.6 million renovation of the 8-bed facility that was originally built as a women’s prison in the late-1960s. The project calls for eight detention rooms that open into a centralized dayroom, an observation cell, intake cell, two classrooms and a medical suite.

• Initial funding has been secured by the state Public Works Board on an $89 million courthouse in Placerville, Calif. The El Dorado County courthouse will replace a three-story structure built in 1913 and the county government center. A committee leading the project has begun looking for potential sites for the new facility. The project calls for many features that are missing from existing facilities: a jury assembly area, more single-occupant holding cells, state-of-the-art security and separate hallways for in-custody defendants. Officials expect the project to take nearly five years to finish.

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