Commission to evaluate four sites for county jail

Published 10:57 pm Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Pike County Commission is down to four possible sites for a new Pike County Jail.

Ken Upchurch of TCU Consulting Services, the firm analyzing data for the placement and construction of a new jail, said the four sites will be evaluated on a variety of criteria by his staff and the data will be presented to the commission to evaluate.

The four sites include Dunbar Drive and the county’s property at the Pike County Road Department as well as two sites that have not been disclosed, which Upchurch said is to maintain leverage in negotiations.

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Upchurch said as many as nine prospective sites were considered, but the other five have been eliminated based on disqualifying factors. “They were either not big enough or too big and can’t be subdivided or some other reason,” Upchurch said.

The criteria are divided into five different sections, which Upchurch said the commissioners will decide which are most prioritized. The five categories are general site characteristics, site proximity, locational impact, initial cost criteria and long-range cost criteria.

“We’ll ask the commissioners this question about these five categories: What are the most important attributes to this site for you?” Upchurch said.

Each of the sections is broken into several different criteria, which Upchurch said will be analyzed by three members of his staff.

“Three people under me will be grading the sites, not the commissioners,” Upchurch said. “It will be an architect, an engineer and a contractor.”

The criteria under the category of general site characteristics are compatibility with adjacent land use, accessibility from major streets/highways, overall size of site, configuration/shape of site, future expansion capability, site availability, availability of utilities, present zoning requirements/restrictions, drainage, soils, flood plain, slope and general topography and easements.

The criteria under site proximity are proximity to county population center, proximity to police department, proximity to hospitals/medical facilities, proximity to fire department and proximity to highest crime area.

The criteria under locational impact are stimulation of development in the area, community support/adverse sentiment, highest and best use for the site, effect on local tax base and neighborhood disruption.

The criteria under initial cost criteria are acquisition cost, site development and preparation cost, utility costs, time availability, demolition requirements and relocation requirements.

Finally, long-range cost criteria include detention staffing costs and transportation costs.

Upchurch said each of the three raters will assign a point value to each of these specific criteria, and the average of those point values will be compiled into one major document to compare each site on each characteristic.

The report is expected to be ready by the end of next week, Upchurch said, but will likely be presented to the commission in executive session since the data refers to sites that have not yet been disclosed to the public.

“We don’t want one of them to say ‘My site was ranked best, I’m going to raise my prices,’” Upchurch said. “We just want to get a thorough understanding of each site.”

¬The next meeting of the Pike County Commission is Monday, March 25 upstairs at the Pike County Health Department. The work session will begin at 5:15 p.m. and the business meeting will begin at 6 p.m.