PRESCOTT, Ark. — A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Nevada County jail in Prescott was held earlier this month. The former AllCare Pharmacy building is being demolished to make way for the new $6 million jail.
Collierville, Tenn.-based SouthBuild Team designed the new 80-bed jail, which will be built by Cordova, Tenn.-based Smith-Doyle Construction using local subcontractors. Construction is scheduled for approximately 18 months. Once complete, the county will only have to transfer food and inmates to the facility. The project is a turnkey operation and will be fully functional on the first day of completion, with all necessary equipment already in place.
The new facility will house the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, an office for the Eighth Judicial Prosecutor, as well as space for the Arkansas State Police. The county’s 9-1-1 system will also be housed in the new structure.
The current jail was built between 1924 and 1932 and is the oldest operating jail in the state. It has a capacity of only 10 inmates, although in the past it has held up to 26. The state had inspected the jail and found it was well below standards. The state gave the county six months to show progress on a plan for constructing a new jail.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, Nevada County Sheriff Danny Martin and Nevada County Judge Mark Glass both expressed their gratitude for those citizens that voted to raise sales taxes to help fund the new facility. About 84 percent of Nevada County citizens voted in favor of the new facility, which required the approval of two taxes in order to fund construction as well as maintenance and operation once the jail is built. Voters approved a three-fourths-cent sales tax to fund construction and a one-fourth-cent sales tax for ongoing maintenance and operation.
Prior to the vote, public hearings were held across the county to discuss the issue. Everyone who attended the hearings agreed the county needed a new jail, reported HopePrescott.com. However, questions were were raised concerning jail security. Bob Cummings, a justice of the peace, said the walls will be floor to ceiling and will be cinderblock filled with concrete, preventing inmates from escaping.