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Commitee approves consulting firm to study jail options

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news Ellsworth, 54011
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

Wednesday’s Pierce County Jail planning committee meeting focused on firms willing to provide consultation as the County takes the next steps in the search for a new jail. 

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After a 30-minute discussion in closed session, the three-man committee of Jim Ross, Dale Auckland and Jerry Kosin decided on Potter Lawson by a vote of 2-1 (Kosin was the no vote), subject to contractual approval. 

According to President Eric Lawson, Potter Lawson has designed numerous correctional facilities for the State of Wisconsin, as well as detention and judicial facilities for 22 counties. One of their most recent projects, which caught the attention of Pierce County officials, was the Green Lake County Justice Center in Green Lake.

Completed in 2011, the 160,000-square foot facility houses 106 beds, two court rooms, sheriff’s office, jail and dispatch. While the size isn’t what Pierce is looking for, the Green Lake Jail was built with room to expand and features a geothermal heating/cooling system.

“Future expansion is a good idea,” Lawson said. “You don’t need to overbuild.”

Other recent projects include an addition and remodeling to the La Crosse County Law Enforcement Center, an expansion and remodeling of the Racine County Law Enforcement Center and an addition and remodel of the Rock County Sheriff’s Office and Correctional Facility.

Lawson, during his presentation, said Potter Lawson will be working with The Samuels Group, a full-service commercial construction contractor with offices in Wisconsin and Iowa. They worked with Potter Lawson on the Green Lake and Rock County projects.

The committee chose Potter Lawson over bids submitted by Venture Capital and KKE. Potter's costs will not exceed $20,500. 

The next planning meeting is set for 1 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 2, when the topic will be potential locations for the new jail.

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