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Commissioners approve road name, holiday checks

At Monday’s Pike County Commission work session and commission meeting, members heard plans from an architect for a new jail facility, approved the renaming of a road to honor one of its residents, and passed a motion to provide payroll and bonus checks before the holidays.

At the work session, architect Jim Langford presented a PowerPoint for his group, Southbuild Team.

The company, Langford said, specializes in the building of “country jails”—correctional facilities for rural areas.

While Southbuild has never operated in Alabama, they have worked on jails in the southeast. In the past, the team has built new jails and recycled old buildings to fit the needs of rural police departments.

In Brownsville, Tenn., the company renovated a Wal-Mart into a correctional facility. In another city, team members created a jail from a hospital complex.

Langford said the jails his company builds work on a “cherry pie” system. That is, the control room operates from the center of the facility.

From its center, a relatively small command center can watch prisoners’ rooms, day rooms. If the jail needed to expand, Langford said, builders could add more “wedges” to the pie, including offices and kitchen space.

This model, he says, is the most cost efficient without sacrificing security.

Commissioner Oren Fannin asked Langford what a brand new jail with about 200 beds might cost.

He added that the commissioners weren’t expecting anything “pretty” in terms of façade or decoration, in order to save costs. Langford estimated somewhere between $7.5 million and $11 million for the construction.

No further discussion or motion was mentioned regarding jail facilities.

Commissioner Homer Wright presented a petition to rename County Road 7703 to Walter Still Road. Walter Still lives on the road and is a preacher outside of his layman’s job. Wright said Still gave a significant amount of his property to the road’s construction and blacktopping.

The road passed through Still’s yard in such a way that part of his property peeked out on both sides of that stretch of pavement.

Members passed the motion to rechristen the stretch as Walter Stills Road.

Members also passed a motion to move the distribution of “longevity checks” to November 24, before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Longevity checks are bonuses given to employees who have been working for the county for more than 5 years.

Giving the checks early means they could be used for Black Friday shopping, County Administrator Harry Sanders pointed out.

Members also approved the distribution of county employee paychecks for December 23, for the Christmas holiday schedule. Employees will not receive any payment for time not worked, Sanders said—they will simply get their checks before the break.

In other commission news, members approved a request from county engineer Russell Oliver to reclassify County Road 3304, which stretches 2.5 to 3 miles between County Road 3319 and Highway 231, as a collector road instead of a local road. The distinction will open up that piece of road for federal funding.