Numbers released on new county jail

The price tag for a new Platte County Detention Center has more than doubled since the 2013 estimate was released and commissioners are still working to address how to present a potential law enforcement and public safety tax to the public.

A preliminary concept design and cost estimate was released last week by TrainorHL architectural firm — the firm commissioned two years ago to determine the costs involved with renovating the jail’s basement, dubbed the Futures area, into a usable space.

The scope of work consists of two phases which includes housing for 336 inmates, new booking and inmate property areas, a new sheriff’s office and renovation of Futures and existing areas.

The estimated total costs of these two phases of new construction and renovation comes in at almost $43 million. In 2013, Goldberg Group Architects estimated a 315-bed facility would cost approximately $21 million.

Last week, commissioners indicated ballot language for a dedicated public safety sales tax could be up for approval as early as the regularly scheduled Monday, Aug. 20 administrative session. However, work is still ongoing to craft the plan forward and ballot language.

According to first district commissioner Dagmar Wood, the commission may hold a special session on Tuesday, Aug. 28 to discuss and potentially approve a ballot measure. Aug. 28 is the deadline for new ballot questions to be filed with the Platte County Board of Elections for the Tuesday, Nov. 7 general election.

In the TrainorHL estimate, the new inmate housing and sheriff’s office facilities would be built to the west of the current detention center in what is currently an employee parking lot. The three-story inmate housing area would be built above a new booking area.

Each floor would consist of four housing pods, each holding 28 inmates in double-occupancy cells for a total of 112 inmates per floor. Located within each housing unit is an exercise area with direct access to natural light and outside ventilation. All four units would be monitored by a single elevated control station and the facility would include a multi-purpose room, inmate video visitation kiosks and a client/attorney non-contact meeting room.

The loss of on-site parking would be offset by an expansion of the parking lot to the west of the county administration block.

The new sheriff’s office would also consist of three stories, including office and reception areas and meeting and support spaces. During phase two of the project, the current sheriff’s office would be renovated to allow the prosecutor’s office to move in. This would free up space in the historic courthouse building for establishment of a new division of the Platte County Circuit Court.

The Futures area, which has been the focus of much attention over the last five years, would be renovated into vehicle parking for the sheriff’s department and storage for both the sheriff and general county offices.