Architect presents qualifications to build new jail

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Officials from an architectural firm hoping to be the designer of a new Pike County Jail presented their qualifications to the county commission Monday night.

Renis Jones of PH&J architects, which engineered a temporary solution in January 2017 to sustain the current facility, told the commissioners that the firm has experience designing jail facilities in Alabama.

“We try to connect very closely to you as a client,” Jones said. “We don’t want any surprises. Our senior partners are involved throughout every one of our projects. Want to build a quality building that stands the test of time and represents the constituents of the county.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Patrick Addison, the architect that deals with most of the detention and jail work for the firm, explained some of the different elements that are needed in a modern jail, including a sallyport for the transfer of arrestees to the jail and a server room to handle information recorded on closed-circuit television cameras in the case footage needs to be reviewed.

The commissioners thanked the firm representatives for presenting the information, but the county is not yet ready to select an architect for the project.

The commission received a final report on the jail feasibility study just last month detailing options for the county for a future county jail. According to that study, provided by TCU Consulting Services, the jail should be 129-beds to meet the needs of the county for decades to come.

The seven options presented to the commission range from $19 million to $29 million.

“We’re not even close right now to deciding on an architect,” Sullivan said. “We haven’t even decided on a location yet.”

Six of seven options would have the jail constructed at the existing site, although the building itself could be in three different locations adjacent to the courthouse. The other option is to construct a complete “justice facility,” which would include moving the courts and sheriff’s office offsite as well.

Currently, the commission is reviewing the report and submitting questions to Ken Upchurch of TCU Consulting Services for further information. County administrator McKenzie Wilson said citizens can also send questions to her about the jail that she will pass along to Upchurch.

In other business, the county:

  • Awarded a contract to Midsouth Paving out of Dothan to complete a countywide striping program.
  • Approved a speed limit of 25 miles per hour on county Road 5515, a newly paved road at Banks Primary School.
  • Approved to let bids for courthouse security.

Approved to advertise in-house for the personnel and safety director for the county, which was vacated by Wilson when she was named county administrator.