Thursday, January 2, 2014
County considers expansion of jail
By SUE WATSON
William Lack and Elizabeth Noblin, with Dean and Dean Associates Architects, presented drawings of a new jail expansion project for the Marshall County Justice Complex.
The jail has been at capacity most of the time in recent years, according to sheriff Kenny Dickerson, who has said more inmate housing space is needed.
County administrator Larry Hall presented the architects, saying he has been working with them for over a year to discuss an expansion of the facility and a new dormitory for inmates who work outside the facility during the day.
Noblin introduced Lack, whom she said “is our jail guru.”
“He’s highly respected for all his expertise about correctional work,” Noblin said. “We feel so confident about his knowledge about it.”
Lack, who has been involved in building correctional facilities for about 35 years, discussed the details of a proposed expansion. The jail, on West Street, was moved into in 1999.
“I’ve seen a lot of jails,” he said. “That one is not in bad shape for a 15-year-old jail.”
He described new jail designs as brick and mortar type, modular, or partial modular.
The new addition proposed would be a metal building envelope with modular housing units custom built and added under the envelope. The design is less costly, he said.
In modular design, some materials, such as steel doors, have to be ordered for custom fit. The timeline in construction is very important and can affect the cost.
“The faster you get it up, the more you save,” Lack said.
Other areas have to be built besides cells, he said. Booking rooms, receiving, drunk tanks, detox rooms, lunacy holdings, and a sealed Sally Port are examples, of additional things that must be built once a facility gets to 200 to 260 beds.
“If you do not address these areas, you invite a lot of lawsuits,” he said.
Lack said design will dictate staff costs and this design will allow full monitoring at a minimum of operating costs. Inmates can be moved about without having to make contact with jail employees, he said.
“I’m proposing a rigid-form metal building,” he said. “The cells are not built until ordered and are built out of three-sixteenths-inch steel.
Sheriff Dickerson said the jail expansion is needed.
“And the sooner the better,” he said. “It’s going to have to be done.”
He said he liked the layout of the proposed design.
A separate building would be constructed to house state inmates who are on work release programs. That facility would be a separate metal building with concrete block interior walls and toilets. The dormitory-style building would be easily enlarged and free-standing with a fence enclosure.
Lack said it will be cheaper to build enough jail space now than to come back later and add on.
Hall estimated the cost of building the proposed expansion to be close to $2 million.
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