LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. — Construction on the Dearborn County Law Enforcement Center began on June 17. The project entails adding an additional 34,405 square feet to the west side of the existing 58,800-square-foot jail. The expansion will add 208 beds to the existing total of 216, which will increase the facility’s capacity to 424 inmates.
Work on the project is expected to last until mid-2014, according to Terri Randall, Dearborn County Administrator.
Lawrenceburg-based Maxwell Construction was hired as the construction manager after an arduous selection process. Randall noted that this company “allowed us to have someone leading the project who was invested in our community. They had a passion for building the best quality and design possible within budget constraints.” Rosser International, based in Atlanta, was chosen as the architect.
The overall goal of the project is to “address the jail overcrowding problem, and secondarily, the design,” Randall said. The project will expand holding and medical cells, provide more programming space for the Jail Chemical Addiction Program, expand booking/intake, evidence processing and inmate storage, create an inmate-worker dorm near the kitchen and laundry facilities and provide more options for safe and effective inmate classification.
“The design creates a central, elevated control room with excellent line of sight, which will allow us to maintain staffing at the current level, video arraignment and visitation, a new and expanded kitchen, chemical addiction programming wings (one male, one female) and isolation of work release to minimize contraband concerns,” Randall said.
Randall noted that the main challenges for the project have already been faced. The biggest challenge was overcoming the 10-year debate amongst community members concerning the merits and funding for the project.
“It was important to keep the budget as low as possible but also solve our jail overcrowding problem for the next 25 to 30 years,” Randall said. “We were particularly challenged by the fact that our county council desired a project at no more than $9.3 million. Unfortunately, once we did our research, revisited the architectural design that had been proposed, and honestly assessed our needs and inmate projections, it became evident that a project in that price range fell short of solving our jail overcrowding problem for the long-term.”
The leaders for the project eventually decided to invest the additional $2.2 million necessary to include additional bed space and meet the county’s needs for the long term. This brings the total cost of the project to $11.5 million.
A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for July 3 at 4 p.m.