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Jail building layout discussed

Wednesday’s Pierce County Ad Hoc Jail Planning Committee meeting focused on the interior of what the new building would look like. 

Eric Lawson, President/CEO of Potter Lawson, the architectural firm the committee hired to provide consultation, said when the meeting started they wanted to get a better understanding of the county’s objectives for the building.

Lawson asked about the figures of a 27,000 square-foot-building and the 50 beds, figures county officials have been talking about for months. He was told those figures were rough estimates and no way a final determination of what the building will be.

“The operating costs will be 10 times more of a concern than the building costs,” said Committee Chairman Jim Ross. Ross also reminded those in attendance the building has to meet state and federal classifications.

Jail Inspector Brad Hompe was on hand to answer some of the state classifications questions. Based on a 50-bed figure, Hompe gave a projection of the classifications from Huber to maximum, medium and minimial risk for female and male inmates. He said booking cells and “special need” cells would have to be built as well, and those would not be included in the 50-bed total. Hompe concluded by saying jails have to be filled at 80 percent capacity, so there will always be room in case of multiple book-ins at the same time.

County officials then asked about the Green Lake County Justice Center in Green Lake, which Potter Lawson designed. Sheriff Nancy Hove, who toured the facility, said what impressed her about it was the layout of the building. Their jail was built with 108 beds, with room to expand to 124. Building a jail with room to expand is at the top of the wish list for county officials.

“The set up was something we could relate to,” she said. “It was liked by all.”

Lawson said he and Potter Lawson representatives will be back on Nov. 6 to discuss their pros and cons of sites selected by the committee from the Oct. 2 meeting.

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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