After thorough debate, the Webster County Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday, July 12th to approve the exterior design of “Phase One” of the new Webster County Justice Center.
Phase One includes a much-needed new Jail, along with a Sheriff’s Office and one Courtroom for criminal proceedings. Eventually, Phase Two envisions more Courtrooms – along with court staff and Prosecutor offices, and other law enforcement related facilities to support them. For the time being, however, the majority of judicial activity will continue to take place in the current Courthouse.
The administrative portion of Phase One wraps around the west side of the new Jail. It resembles the existing Robertson Hardware building in style and dimension – but gains valuable square footage by adding 40 feet in width.
The Jail itself is a formidable two story 120’ x 120’ concrete box. The facility is capable of holding 150 beds; 136 in the main (higher security) set of ‘pods’, with an additional 14 lighter security beds in the basement beneath the administrative wing.
The total budget for the project is $16.4 million. The County will fund a portion with of reserve funds saved over the past several years, and will issue bonds for the remainder. The Commission intends to pay the debt service for the facility with existing revenues. Additional income generated by leasing ‘open beds’ to neighboring counties will be used to accelerate the construction of Phase Two (courts facility) to the earliest possible date.
Sheriff Roye Cole expressed his appreciation for the Commission’s decision, stating “Our goal is to construct a safe and efficient facility; one that fits our community, and of which future generations can be proud.”
The design team is working on construction documents. Bids will be sent out in the Fall – with the hope of opening those bids shortly before Thanksgiving. If the process continues to move smoothly, the County expects to break ground in early 2017. It is estimated construction will take 18-24 months to complete.