The demolition of the former Fayette County Jail took a little over a week to complete as clean-up is nearly finished.
The demolition began on the morning of Thursday, Aug. 26 at the former jail, located at 113 E. Market St. in Washington Court House. Fillmore Construction out of Leesburg is handling the project.
As previously reported, the jail was originally built in 1884. Although there were additions made in the 1900s to the facility, that was prior to the state standards and regulations in effect during this century. The former jail failed numerous state standards, had safety concerns, was constantly needing upkeep, and had certain factors that would make it unfeasible to modernize the building — such as cast iron plumbing from 1884 and trouble with black mold.
While the building has been demolished, and aside from items able to be reused at the new jail facility, there have been items salvaged for historical purposes.
Five lightning rods made to look like sunflowers were able to be removed from the former jail’s roof. Each one will be placed in different locations in the county, including the court room in the courthouse, the museum, the sheriff’s lobby, the city administration roof and the roof of the new jail.
A few of the former jail doors from 1884 will be put on display. Community members were also given a chance to take a brick prior to the debris having been removed.
Next plans for the site include grading it and using top soil left over from a recent project at the Fayette County Airport. The site will then be left alone to settle until next spring.
At that point, current plans are for a concrete patio with landscaping to be added.
The new jail is part of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office law enforcement complex located at 1500 Robinson Road S.E. in Washington C.H. It includes an administrative area, a 911 call center, and the detention area.
The legislation that allowed the funding for the new complex was passed by voters during the May 7, 2019 special election by a 1,378-1,129 margin. The levy contained two parts — one to fund the construction and one to fund the operation of the new facility. The original funding for the jail was a 40-year, $21,002,594 loan with a 3.5% interest rate. Following the passage, construction of the facility began in June of 2019. Move-in occurred in mid-2021.
With changes made throughout the construction, the total cost of the construction project came to approximately $21,689,760. Since that original note, the commissioners were able to do a “county bond refunding” which included selling bonds backed by the levy at an approximate 2.35% interest rate — this will shorten the overall life of the loan and significantly lessen the amount of money being payed in interest.
Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.