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Planning Phase Set to Begin for New Franklin County Jail

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Contact: Marty Homan, Commissioners, 614/525-5273
Hanna Greer-Brown, Commissioners, 614/525-5848
Chief Deputy Geoff Stobart, Sheriff’s Office, 614/525-5785

Franklin County Commissioner Marilyn Brown and Sheriff Zach Scott will lead a county delegation attending a four-day training program (February 24-27) at the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) in Aurora, CO, that teaches the importance of in-depth planning before starting jail facility design. The training is designed for jurisdictions that have made a firm decision to construct a jail, are ready to take control of the project and are willing to engage in a major planning effort.

The Franklin County Board of Commissioners took steps last year to shore up finances for the construction and colocation of a new jail and county morgue and earlier this year, moved forward with the purchase of a 22.9 acre site located at 2551 Fisher Road on which to construct the Franklin County Public Safety Campus.

“Building a new jail has been on the Commissioners’ radar for many years,” said Commission President Marilyn Brown. “I’m eager to attend this intensive training and look forward to my colleagues and me hiring an Owner’s Representative to work with us as we begin the hard work of planning for state-of-theart County facilities that will improve public safety, as well as the safety of our deputies and those in our care.”

The current downtown jail, located at 370 S. Front Street in Downtown Columbus, was built in 1968, has 600 beds, and costs an estimated $60 million a year to operate. A new facility is expected to address the expense of operating and staffing an antiquated facility, and improve safety for the law enforcement personnel employed at the jail, as well as the inmates and the community.

“Our jails have served admirably, but our facilities have been subject to decades of heavy use. They have simply outlived their usefulness, and it is not feasible to economically renovate the existing facilities to meet the needs of Franklin County and to remain compliant with legal requirements,” said Sheriff Zach Scott. “We need this new jail, and I look forward to learning from best practices and working with the project team and commissioners to build a state-of-the-art facility that will effectively and efficiently house and rehabilitate our inmates.”

The course, entitled Planning of New Institutions, teaches concepts through case studies, allowing participants to get "hands-on" experience in planning methods. The course focuses on the critical elements of planning a new facility, including collecting and using data, pre-architectural programming, site evaluation, project management, and determining staffing needs.

The planning process, including program development and determining the functional requirements of the facility, is expected to take two years. Followed by design and construction phases, the new jail facility is planned to open in Spring 2018. Total construction costs are estimated to be approximately $150 million.

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