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New jail construction is on track

Friday, December 19, 2003

Completion is still a long way off, but County Commissioner Daryl Andrews says that plans for the new Clay County jail are moving right on track.

Andrews, one of many people working behind-the-scenes to keep things moving at the right speed, said that some things still need to be finalized, but everything is working according to plan.

"We're still finalizing a design," he said, "and once we get that, finalizing a budget."

Andrews said that the jail's estimated cost is $8.7 to $9.2 million, down from the original $13 million estimate.

"That's not giving up any bed space, either," he said. "That's just better design efficiency."

The prison will bed around 150 people when all is said and done, according to the commissioner.

The beginning stages haven't seen many problems, he said, though those that they did encounter were financial.

"Frankly, finding a way to fund it has been the biggest roadblock. Through the efforts of (Judge) Ernest Yelton and several others, we've had everything on schedule so far," he explained.

The jail is tentatively scheduled for groundbreaking on "the second quarter of 2004," according to Andrews, and will be functional "realistically at the end of 2005."

"The design was taken to the Department of Corrections," he said. "The feedback was enormously positive."

Sheriff Rob Carter had some positive things to say about the jail himself.

"There's been a lot of interactivity between us, Schenkle Schultz (the architectural firm designing the building), the Department of Corrections, and lots of other groups," he said. "It looks to be very efficient, very staff-friendly, with safety as the top priority.

"The Department of Corrections really liked the design and flow," he continued. "Jail inspectors and others have said that you don't usually get something this nice right off the bat."

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