Hubbard County Jail remodel estimated as high as $7.5M
Jail renovations were identified as the first project to be completed in the county's five-year capital improvement plan. A public hearing will be held about the plan.
Hubbard County commissioners delved further into proposed improvements to the Hubbard County Jail.
Bruce Schwartzman, a senior partner with BKV Group, an architectural and engineering firm in Minneapolis, presented the conceptual phase of the project at the Tuesday, May 9 meeting.
He estimated that it will cost between $6,386,554 and $7,554,826, including 15% in contingency funds.
Hubbard Co Jail Planning by Shannon Geisen on Scribd
County Administrator Jeff Cadwell said he’ll ask the county board next week to set a public hearing for the five-year capital improvement plan (CIP).
Jail renovations were identified as the first project to be completed in the CIP.
Vehicle storage, sally port
Schwartzman said, “What your county is seeing is what you’re across the state and across the country – an increased need to deal with mental health individuals, drug-dependency issues and an increase of felonies in the jail and the impact it's having on the facility.”
Schwartzman said there are cost savings to remodeling versus building new.
In order to construct an 11,000-square-foot intake and vehicle sally port to the west of the Hubbard County Law Enforcement Center (LEC), Schwartzman said Front Avenue would be closed off.
Ambulances and large transport vehicles don’t fit in the existing sally port.
Squads and tactical vehicles are currently stored at three locations, he continued.
“Part of the plan is to build this large, pre-engineered metal addition that would accommodate a lot of the vehicles needed,” he said.
Renovation to the existing jail housing pods will increase flexibility in bed use. Schwartzman explained that inmates must be separated, depending on their criminal classifications and gender.
Schwartzman said the plan would increase the level of separations from the current six to 18.
“In essence, it would give you more bed capabilities,” while not increasing staffing, he said.
County commissioner Char Christenson asked if the jail would need to be closed during renovations.
Schwartzman said BKV Group has a three-phase construction schedule “because the goal is you never want to house (inmates) out of county,” which is costly. “Our thought was you’d be able to remodel around the existing inmate population.”
Intake, booking and dispatchSchwartzman explained that the LEC currently has seven intake/booking cells. The plan calls for adding 13 cells to separate mentally ill, drug-addicted or high-suicide-watch individuals who are being detained and must be separated from others.
The LEC doesn’t have a pre-booking area. It’s important, Schwartzman said, to improve the intake process for arresting officers.
Dispatch would be relocated into the sheriff’s office area of LEC in order to improve handicap accessibility and allow for hiring civilians.
‘A lot of work to be done’
If approved, Schwartzman said it takes 10 months to a year for design and bidding. Renovations would take between one year and eight months to two years.
Cadwell said it makes financial sense to pay for the design later in 2023 or early 2024.
The existing bond payment for LEC, which was built in 2006, goes down in 2026, he added. New bonding for this project would keep the debt payments relatively the same.
The county is also capturing additional funds for capital improvements to either reduce the amount the county must borrow or pay for other projects.
“When you’re over $3 or $4 million, you’re almost always looking at bonding, but we have some flexibility with that,” he said.
He concluded, “There’s a lot of work to be done here.”
He’ll work with Ehlers Public Financial Advisors to analyze the financial impact to the county.
County Sheriff Cory Aukes is completing an inventory of equipment so the floor plan has appropriate storage space.
The entire presentation will be linked with this article on the Park Rapids Enterprise website.