Mild weather helps jail project progress

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By Jamie Grabert

Overcrowding at the Posey County Jail will soon come to an end as the expansion project continues to move forward on schedule due to the mild winter.

The project is about 25 percent completed, according Garmong Project Manager Joe Mattingly.

“We have all of the slab work is done. We are starting on the masonry walls, the steel cells are being installed and we have the metal building and interior finishes left,” said Mattingly.

The project is on schedule for the most part. He said there have been a few delays with the metal building, but they hope to make up that time in the installation process.

Mattingly said there really haven’t been any changes to the scope of work to the project. “More or less, any changes that have been made were for owner security and things like that, so there really haven’t been any scope changes.”

Last Wednesday morning, the prefabricated cells were placed with the use of a large crane. All told, the new jail will feature 38 new cells, including 12 four-person cells and 26 two-person cells. In order to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, some of the cells were designed for wheelchair accessibility.

The cell doors will be controlled electronically in an elevated control room with a nearly 360-degree viewing area.
The new pod system will provide a bed, toilet, sink and shower in the cell along with a small table. The doors will open to a small area that will allow a little interaction with a small group of other inmates that has a table. Those in the command center (or control room) will be able to look into the cells through the window, but the cells will also have cameras in them. The new pod also has a recreational area. Inmates will flow through passageways with locked doors that are electronically controlled to make sure to keep problems to a minimum.

This is Mattingly’s first jail update project, but he said this is something Garmong is working to grow. “I think it’s going well. We have a good group of contractors all working together.”

He also pointed out that work is being completed by local contractors.

“The only setback has been the metal building. The weather has been great. If we hadn’t had the winter we have, we’d be much further behind. The only foreseeable wildcard is the metal building, but we are doing everything we can to expedite that,” said Mattingly.

The goal of the project is not only to comply with the new state laws, but also to use additional space at the jail to bring in funds to help pay for the renovation by taking inmates from other counties and receiving funds for that.

This isn’t a new concept to Posey County as other sheriff’s have done this in the past, when the local jail wasn’t at capacity for Posey County offenders. Some years more $400,000 was brought in to the jail for housing Dept. of Corrections inmates.

Posey County officials are counting on housing inmates from other counties to help pay off the debt for the jail renovation.

According to Posey County Auditor Sarah Beth Meighen, about $3.2 million has been spent on the project so far.