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Architect plans for jail completion by the end of 2012

Staff writer

Architect Andy Pitts of Treanor Architects P.A. of Topeka reviewed a timeline for construction of a new jail Monday with Marion County Commission.

The county takes possession of the land east of the courthouse June 1, at which point demolition of the former lumberyard can begin.

Pitts hopes to release bid specifications in early August and to award bids in early September. That would allow construction to begin as soon as late September.

Construction will be a 12 to 14-month process, he said. He expects “substantial completion” of the project in December 2012.

Substantial completion is an important milestone, because that is the date from which contractors’ warranties are effective. From that point, it will probably be another month to 45 days before inmates can be moved to the new jail.

Between completion and moving inmates, the county plans to have an open house at the facility.

“It’s amazing to see how many dads walk their kids through,” Pitts said.

Many parents will take that opportunity to warn their children to behave and obey the law, he said.

Pitts recommended using a traditional bid-build system for construction, rather than hiring a construction manager, because of the size of the project. Construction managers are most valuable for projects even larger than the proposed jail. Bidding provides the best chance for lower costs, he said.

Quality control is usually the biggest concern with bidding, he said. However, most of the project is simple to construct. The jail fixtures are the most complex part, and the county can use a list of qualified bidders for those portions to minimize quality control issues.

Pitts and Sheriff Rob Craft are reviewing and revising drawings of the facility to make sure it meets the county’s needs. None of the changes have altered the footprint of the facility.

Commissioner Randy Dallke asked about the possibility of touring similar facilities Treanor Architects has designed. Pitts said the two most comparable jails are in Anderson and Brown counties.

Pitts presented drawings of what the building might look like. It is designed as a single story, although space could be included for a second story expansion of the jail space as an alternate bid. It will have a low-sloped roof.

Windows on the sheriff’s office side of the building will be full size. Windows in the jail will be much smaller, but they will be set into recesses the same size as the larger windows for aesthetic reasons. The jail windows will also be translucent, rather than clear.

Dallke asked whether the facility could be rotated in the space available, to allow more room for a possible office building in the future. Pitts did some measuring on his drawings and determined that it could, although that would reduce options for expanding the jail if the need arises. The commission made no decision on the matter.

Last modified April 27, 2011

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