Preliminary plans for jail received

Posted 5/13/99

Preliminary sketches of the floor plans for a Washington…

By Ron Slechta

Next meeting May 24 at Ainsworth

Preliminary sketches of the floor plans for a Washington County Safety Center at …

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Preliminary plans for jail received


Preliminary sketches of the floor plans for a Washington…

By Ron Slechta

Next meeting May 24 at Ainsworth

Preliminary sketches of the floor plans for a Washington County Safety Center at the present site north of the courthouse was presented to the Safety Center Citizen’s Study Committee at the Kalona Chamber building Monday evening May 10.

The proposal presented by Architect Roddy Moore & Associates, Omaha, NE, proposed plan was for a two story facility with the jail cells on the second floor with a skywalk leading to the courthouse. Public Safety and Communications Center offices were proposed to be on the main floor.

The committee set its next meeting for 7 p.m. Monday, May 24, at the Ainsworth Opera House.

Randy Lampe, president of PCS & Associates, Houghton, said he could have preliminary estimates with a 20 per cent contingency factor ready for the next meeting based on Moore’s preliminary plans.

Jail planner Gordon E. Plepla of Gordon Plepla & Associates, Rogers, Arkansas, said he would study the preliminary plans and offer suggested changes by the May 24 meeting. Plepla expressed concern that the 40-prisoner facility may not be large enough especially when capacity in l998 was estimated at 38. He added that the plan presented by Moore could be modified to house more prisoners.

Plepla added that the Legislature’s changes in the drunk driving laws, domestic abuse cases and the raising of bond by 350 per cent by the judicial system would result in more people being held.

Sheriff Yale Jarvis called the proposal “survival,” and indicated he liked the idea of the jail facilities being on the second floor. He said the plan would be more operational for public safety staff for the county and city of Washington, and would be more serviceable to the public.

Jarvis said he was impressed by how knowledgeable the study committee has become.

Architect Moore said his plan did not allow for use of the present facility. He expressed concern that the additional firewalls and sprinkler system needed would make incorporation of the old building into the new facility cost prohibitive.

In answer to concerns that the committee also consider other locations and a one-story building that might offer expansion possibilities, committee chairman Harvey Holden said the committee had carefully considered other location options and felt comfortable with their recommendation to build at the present site. He cited the proximity to the courthouse could help contain future operational costs.

Some concern was raised about lack of parking and failure to provide space for future expansion. Others questioned the extra cost of a two-story structure.

Plepla noted that having the jail on the second floor would make it easier to meet jail standards that require daylight be provided to prisoners. Use of skylights and windows in the exercise area would be better than putting expensive six-inch windows in each cell. The windows alone would cost $400 each plus cost of installation.

Kyle Soukoup expressed concern about the downtown Washington location and suggested that other options be offered. Supervisor Virginia Bordwell suggested dusting off the green-space plan offered in the local-option sales tax and updating the cost of building that facility.

Doug Tindal supported the recommendation for construction at the present site. He noted the parking problem could be addressed by condemning some houses to build a parking area. He added that 80 per cent of the cost of operating a jail is administrative and a lot of administrative costs could be saved by having the jail/public safety center next to the recently-revitalized county courthouse.

A suggestion was made to make a comparison of the costs of building a two-story facility at the present site compared to a one-story facility at another location.

Holden said the committee would deal with cost estimates and methods of financing at the meeting in Ainsworth. Options will be presented on financing through bond issues, lease purchase or loan agreements and local option sales tax.