LAURENS, S.C. — The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office moved ahead with the planned expansion of the county jail as officials awarded the $5.7 million construction contract to Hendrick Construction.
The general contractor, based in Charlotte, N.C., will work in conjunction with architectural firm DA Architects of Summerville, S.C., in expanding the 200-bed capacity of the existing R. Eugene Johnson Detention Center to house an additional 128 inmates.
“The jail will be occupied during construction, and the project will require close coordination with the sheriff’s office to ensure the safety and security of the facility at all times,” says Roger Hendrick, president of Hendrick Construction.
The new split-level facility will incorporate 20,000 square feet of operational space with eight precast concrete housing units. The small-form, podular housing units, each capable of accommodating up to 16 inmates in a dormitory setting, will be constructed in a semi-circular configuration around a central control room.
The smaller16-bed housing units are designed to offer the sheriff’s office more flexibility in the management of differing inmate populations through the segregation of inmates for gender, special needs or security classification purposes. Situated between the split-level housing pods, the main control room will afford corrections staff unencumbered views of each dormitory.
“The sheriff’s office is responsible for housing people with charges ranging from murder to writing bad checks,” says Dennis Ashley of DA Architects. “With such a broad population, and numbers that change daily, they needed a jail design that helps them separate inmates.”
In addition to the expansion, Hendrick will renovate space at the existing jail to accommodate new medical facilities, an administrative area and a visitors’ center. The jail’s security system will also be upgraded as part of the project, while a new video visitation and conferencing system will allow inmates to interact remotely with visitors and court officials.
The project is scheduled for completion by fall 2011.