Commissioners: New jail a long-term project

Published 3:00 am Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Pike County Commission recently approved PH&J as the architectural firm to make temporary fixes to the county jail and to design a new jail, but no new jail has been approved yet according to the commission.

“Where we’re at right now is determining what the next steps will be,” Said Harry Sanders, county administrator. “Where would we put it? How much would it cost? And how would we pay for it? Those are the fundamental questions that haven’t been answered yet.”

Commissioner Robin Sullivan echoed Sanders about the things that must be done before further decisions can be made.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“It will probably take a couple of years of planning,” Sullivan said. “We’re going to do our due diligence and explore all avenues of revenue. We’re not going out tomorrow and borrowing $8 million. It’s going to take time to figure everything out and then get the money for it.”

Sanders said the biggest question mark about the jail is funding.

“There’s lots and lots and lots to consider,” Sanders said. “It will extend into our new commission that will begin in November.”

Sanders said a report about the temporary fix for the jail will be presented at the next commission meeting on Monday.

The temporary fix that was discussed focused on removing the parapets from around the top of the building. The parapets are the big block structures at the top of the building that structural engineers said are weighing heavily on the walls, contributing to the structural problems.

“The main thing is to get this jail to last while we figure out what we are going to do,” Sullivan said. “We’ll be fine when we get that done, and we’re going to get it done. That will get us at least to where we can work on the new plan.”

Sanders said that the issues with the jail are nothing new for the commission.

“We’ve been through years and years of knowing it was a matter of time before we had to do something,” Sanders said. “I don’t think we can wait any longer, structurally.”

The Pike County Commission will hold it’s next regular meeting at the Pike County Health Department on Monday, Sept. 26. The work session will begin at 5:15 p.m., followed by the meeting at 6 pm.