The County Commission toured the Chaves County Detention Center during its regular meeting Thursday to learn more about the site’s upcoming expansion and remodeling plans that will include new equipment and more space.
“In the beginning, we were looking at building a new facility,” said Detention Administrator Sandra Stewart. “But it was considerably more expensive. We felt it was just more efficient to remodel.”
In addition to needing new equipment and technology, Stewart said there is a desperate need for space at the facility in areas such as booking and intake.
The renovation will take place in four phases. Among other improvements, the first phase will create a new female unit, a new video visitation system and enlarge areas, such as the control room, the infirmary, visitation booths, communal space, laundry and commissary.
The facility also will add specialized areas for detainees with mental illnesses, such as padded cells to prevent self-harm.
This will be the center’s first major overhaul since its construction in 1996, Stewart said, and it is estimated that the project will take three years to complete, start to finish.
The remodeling had been estimated to cost the county $15 million, but that was before Hurricane Sandy, said County Manager Stan Riggs.
“We’re hearing there’s going to be a lot of need for construction materials on the East Coast,” he said. “Hopefully, there will not be too much of an impact on us.”
If so, Riggs said it may be necessary to revise plans for the project.
In new business, the board approved a bulk fuel bid from Wakefield Oil of Roswell, a budget adjustment request worth $23,000 for the Road Department to purchase a new pickup, the results of 2012 election canvass and an agreement allowing area hospitals to use new computer software.
The board also approved permission to publish for a public hearing regarding a potential low income tax rebate ordinance. The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 10.