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63 days to go to complete new jail

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

With 63 days left to finish the project, no one is standing still inside, or outside, the new Clay County Jail construction project.

"It's coming together," Clay County Jail Project Clerk of the Works Gary Rodgers said Tuesday at the Clay County Commissioners meeting, but he's a bit apprehensive about the impending deadline. "There's electrical wiring and plumbing left to do. A lot of it."

With the administrative office area approximately 80 percent done, and the booking and kitchen areas not far behind, most of the work that needs to be completed is in the maximum security area.

"This facility is all about security," Rodgers said, adding that the extra steps needed to create the added safety precautions can be slow work. "There is metal rebar and concrete running through each wall in this part of the facility."

There are also dual security doors at each exit in maximum security. When one door is open, the other is locked, making escape impossible.

"There are no single doors to freedom in maximum security," Rodgers said.

Still hopeful about the September completion date, Rodgers admits that the project could take longer to complete when factoring in a few changes in the plans since the beginning of the project.

Plans to place a clock into the overhead area above the front doors have been tabled by Clay County Commissioners while scheduled security measures in the $9 million project and a few new additions to the project will be completed soon.

The new additions include the placement of a secondary control panel in the 911 Systems Office, the creation of a non-lethal weapons armory in a previously designated electrical room and the placement of a security sliding door between the kitchen area and an outside exit.

The work outside will also continue at a furious pace.

"The pavers will be here next week for the parking lots, and landscaping should begin soon," Rodgers said, adding that the work on the canopy in front of the jail should be completed within weeks.

Many of the laborers, electricians and carpenters on the project are people from area counties, which is good for the local economy.

"I try to get the names of all the guys who have worked on the project and where they live," Rodgers said of the men he has gotten to know so well over the last few months. "Each of these men have left their own mark on this project. Most have been from right around this area. Which is what we wanted to do all along, keep this project as local as possible."

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