Old jail to be demolished once new jail is built

Published 10:17 pm Thursday, March 7, 2019

What will happen to the site of the Pike County Jail once a new facility is built elsewhere?

Pike County Commission Chairman Robin Sullivan said the commissioners have not taken time to discuss exactly what to do with the property, but he believes the old jail facility will be razed.

“I would think we’re going to have that torn down; it might come down if we just take the braces up,” Sullivan said. “But we haven’t really discussed what we are going to do with the current site. I wouldn’t mind seeing us doing some more parking spaces there.”

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The county voted 4-1 at its last meeting to eliminate the current site as an option for a new jail facility, leaving the commission to consider alternative sites for a new one-story complex that would include the courts and sheriff’s office as well.

TCU Consulting Services, the third party firm hired by the commission to conduct a feasibility study on the new jail, included the cost of demolishing the current facility in its estimates for costs of constructing an offsite jail.

At a public hearing in Troy, TCU cofounder Ken Upchurch was asked about the cost of the demolition of the jail.

“I can assure you it won’t cost much,” Upchurch said. “We could almost just watch it fall down on itself.”

Sullivan said the commission’s main focus right now is still on the construction of the new jail and that there is time to decide on the use of the current jail property later.

“That jail will remain there until the new jail is ready and the inmates can move in,” Sullivan said. “If we did anything beforehand, we’d have to pay other counties to house are inmates and that would be very expensive.

The commission has not selected a site for the jail yet or an architect, but officials do not expect the new jail to be completed until at least 2021.

The construction is being funded by a temporary sales tax that the county levied in Oct. 2017. The tax has raised more than $5.7 million so far.

Sullivna and other commissioners said the tax can be used t cover the costs of not just the jail facility, but also the construction of the courts, sheriff’s office and the purchase of propert yif necessary.

The commission will meet Monday upstairs at the Pike County Health Department.  The work session will begin at 5:15 p.m. and the business meeting will follow at 6 p.m.