Four options for jail at hand

By Anna Bolton - [email protected]

XENIA — A justice consultant recently proposed four different options for Greene County officials to consider while planning the future county jail. Those plans vary in construction and renovation plans, number of beds and cost.

David Bostwick of HDR, an architectural, engineering, and consulting firm, discussed the options with the commissioners, Sheriff Gene Fischer and Jail Administrator Kirk Keller Jan. 31.

Bostwick projected construction and renovation costs for each option. He also assumed an escalation factor of 12 percent and built in 30 percent contingency.

“Numbers are going to be high because the construction market today is very volatile, labor is very tight, materials are tight, and you are also competing with other jail projects in the country and the region,” he said.

Current costs assume a construction start in November 2020 and occupying the facility two years later. The construction and renovation costs below do not account for contingency or annual staffing costs.

Option One would create a new jail with 324 beds and maintain the Greene County Adult Detention Center (ADC) with 236 beds for minimum security and treatment. The construction/renovation cost totals $56.2 million.

Option Two would build a new jail with 384 beds and convert the ADC to a treatment center run by a third-party vendor, for a total of $59.2 million in construction/renovation. Huddleson said the county could claim a certain number of beds in the treatment center; the rest of the inmates may come from other counties.

Wendy Dyer of Bellbrook, who attended the session, said she was impressed with the thoroughness of the study and the county’s efforts. One concern with the first two options, she said, is having enough health providers to the number of beds.

“The ideal situation is to have more beds for mental health and drug treatment run by outside providers … My biggest concern is that the commissioners and sheriff make sure we have the people in Greene County that can staff [it],” she said. “ … Hopefully everyone will do their due diligence and the facility will serve us for the next 30 to 40 years.”

Option Three includes abandoning the ADC altogether and creating a new 424-bed jail and treatment center that would provide for all classifications of inmates, from minimum- to high-security and special needs. Construction would cost $60.6 million.

Option Four also abandons the ADC and builds a new jail and treatment center with 560 beds for $70.1 million construction total.

Commissioner Bob Glaser said Option Four presents similar problems that the current jail has, with different classifications of inmates in the same spaces.

“Part of the problem now is we have to mix all of them together, so to speak … You go over there and look and you’ve got young people who have made a mistake and they’re in jail. And you’ve got people that, for all practical purposes, the jail is a revolving door for them. They serve a sentence, get out, then they’re back in,” Glaser said. “ … But I view the ADC facility as an opportunity to take the younger people … and bring the different groups that we have here in Greene County, give them place in that jail to work in, that ADC, and try to get them rehabilitated … If we just allow this thing to grow like an inverted pyramid, we can’t build a jail big enough to house these people.”

After other jail facilities are visited, HDR issues its final report, and a public meeting is held, the county will make its final decision — picking an option or creating a “hybrid” option. The next step includes programming and designing the facility.

By Anna Bolton

[email protected]