May take in federal prisoners
"It's done," Sheriff Chuck Eddy said when asked about the progress of the $4.8 million Law Enforcement Center. "We start moving over tomorrow." The statement was followed with a chuckle and the comment "I wish!"
With at least a year left before the new jail construction will be complete, and probably a month before bids are let, Eddy only has the five rolled up blueprints leaned against the wall in the corner of his office to show the project is underway. Only now those blueprints are almost done.
The basic floor plans are expected to be presented to the Buena Vista County Board of Supervisors for approval during next week's meeting. After that, the construction documents will be made from the plans. These documents are used to solicit bids from construction companies. Eddy hopes bids can be let sometime next month. Once construction begins, engineers estimate the project will take 10 to 12 months to complete.
Even though construction season has already begun this year, Eddy is confident the county will be able to break ground on the project this year. If bids are let in May he believes construction could begin as early as June.
Eddy said the engineers working on the project have finished the main design and are now working on placement of the small but important items, such as electrical outlets, the climate control system and lighting.
Since the board approved a new basic design, after the building had to be redrawn to remove the basement level, changes in the design unveiled in March have been made. Eddy said offices and cells have been rearranged to make room for the communications center, to improve the flow of the LEC and hopefully to save some money.
"Overall it is still the same design," Eddy said. "A few walls and a few details have been changed, but the footprint is the same."
The project had to be redrawn from two floors to one due to concerns about subsoil water.
With the new jail able to provide three times the number of beds in the current jail, 50 beds, expandable to 75, as opposed to 24 now, Eddy said the county will be able to save considerable cost from housing prisoners in other counties once the construction is complete. Last month the county spent over $5,000 to house prisoners elsewhere. He said the jail may also be able to become a form of income for the county if there is enough room to accept prisoners for other counties. Deputies are looking into the requirements to house state and federal prisoners. Eddy said the county's space needs, however, will come first.
Eddy said he can only hope the construction will come in under budget, but added that he has faith in the construction manager hired for the project. Eddy said the manager plans to prepare budgets to show how the project is progressing and how much money has been spent at each stage in the project.
About three percent of the cost is in a contingency fund in case of cost overruns. If the fund is not used, items removed from the construction earlier in the planning will be replaced.
With a lot of work done in a short time, Eddy complemented the engineers on their revision of the project.
"We are moving ahead and getting everything worked out," he said. "They are really doing a lot with what they had."