Architectural firms interested in planning and constructing Fayette County’s next jail will soon be able to submit their qualifications for the project.
The county will solicit a Request for Qualifications public notice when the drafted paperwork is approved and in final form, which could be as early as mid-June.
As of Monday’s meeting at the Washington Court House City Building, the Fayette County Commissioners said the Request for Qualifications will be completed when they get it back from the Bureau of Adult Detention at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
John Adams, administrator at the Bureau of Adult Detention, is reviewing the county’s Request for Qualifications draft and will provide additional specifications for meeting the state’s standards.
Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth and Sgt. Jodi Kelly met Monday with Fayette County Commissioners Jack DeWeese, Tony Anderson, and Dan Dean to discuss the Request for Qualifications.
The county is moving forward with plans to build a new detention facility to replace the 133-year-old Fayette County Jail. The county recently applied for, and was denied, a state grant that would have provided funds for an architectural firm to do a needs assessment prior to planning and constructing the new jail. Without the state grant, the needs assessment will be paid for by the county, according to the commissioners.
The needs assessment will give the county and the architectural firm, once chosen, an idea of what the county’s needs are with a new detention facility. How big, how tall, how many beds, and where, will be determined by using data with the needs assessment. The data will be inclusive of population growth or decline, and the number and types of criminal activity and reported incidents in the county.
The current Fayette County Jail has the square footage to hold 28 inmates by state standards. The jail’s average inmate population is about three times that number. There are bunks for 55 inmates and the rest sleep on mattresses on the floor.
Commissioner Tony Anderson said the county has been talking about building a new jail for at least 50 years. A room addition was built onto the original jail in 1969 but the structure remains incapable of meeting today’s state detention standards and technological advances. The commissioners and the sheriff’s office have spent the past four years talking about moving forward with construction.
The Request for Qualifications public notice will likely be posted on the county’s website, in the newspaper and in a public space.
Once the architectural firms interested in the project submit their qualifications, the county will review the qualifications and make a decision on the most suitable firm to do the work.
At a later time the public will have the option to vote on a construction levy, and eventually an operating levy, for the new detention facility.
The commissioners discussed during Monday’s meeting that a bill is being proposed in the state legislature that will allow for construction and operating levies to be consolidated into one levy to expedite processes.
Meigs County officials are working on plans for a new jail there and commissioner Dean said those officials are working with their Senator on the legislation. Dean said the commission offered Fayette County as another example.
“It makes sense for us to do it and go to the people for the levy just one time,” said Dean.
Ashley may be contacted by calling her at (740) 313-0355 or by searching Twitter.com for @ashbunton