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While the county did not intend to buy a building when it was looking for a new jail location, the Meyer Rd location came with one. The county is currently undertaking a conditions assessment of the existing facility to see what kind of shape it is in. The county has had a plan on the books for several years to consolidate departments into fewer buildings and sell off unnecessary real estate. No definitive plans have been established, but it is hoped that several smaller buildings and storage facilities could be sold by consolidating them at Meyer Rd.
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The $320M figure represents the hard and soft costs associated with building a 400,000 square foot jail facility in an open soybean field behind 2911 Meyer Road. This would consist of five pods housing roughly 1,300 inmates, as well as the accompanying food, medical, and laundry facilities, lockup for the drop off of arrested individuals by local law enforcement, and jail administrative offices. The county would also use money that it has on hand to pay for part of the project prior to bonding (aka getting a mortgage). The bond amount is estimated to be more in the $280-290M range.
Schematic drawings are finalized, and the Commissioners are now working with the architect team and Sheriff’s Department to review and right-size some elements of the jail while trying to keep costs as low as possible. We have now made an official request to County Council which has not been acted upon.
There are several possible ways to fund the jail project and County Council will make that decision. No matter which way is selected, bonds will be issued to pay for the construction of the jail. These bonds will be repaid over time just like a mortgage. County Council could choose to repay the bonds with property taxes, income taxes, or a combination of the two. County Council could also choose to use available cash on hand to decrease the amount that needs to be bonded (think of this like a down payment on a house which would decrease the size of your mortgage). Whatever option they choose, some form of public input will be available and/or required.
Unknown, but not contemplated at this time.
Parts of the jail are from 1981. It is just old. The new jail will be built with more modern materials, engineered to last longer with easier maintenance.
The Board of Commissioners, acting as the executive branch of county government, is provided wide latitude in Indiana Code in selecting what are called "professional services" (e.g. architects, engineers, lawyers, accountants) where the skill set, experience, and aptitude of the individual or firm is of paramount importance. Rather than a bid or Request for Proposal (RFP) process, when there is not a known professional service provider, government units will sometimes use a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process. In an RFQ process, firms or individuals are asked to provide their qualifications based on the project or task needing completed. As an example, the State of Indiana commonly uses an RFQ process in selecting engineers for road and bridge projects. Some firms have more expertise and experience than others in bridges that span rivers or elevate over existing roads or train tracks. After selecting for qualification, a price is then negotiated with the individual or firm deemed most qualified. It is possible that a price cannot be successfully negotiated, so the price negotiation process would start with the next possible firm or individual.
For the new jail project, the Board of Commissioners asked their Owners Representative - Construction Controls, Inc. - to put together a list of questions for the RFQ. These questions address the history and financial viability of the company, its experience performing similar projects, the team members who would be assigned to the project, current projects underway, how they would approach a project like this, what planning/design methodology they utilize, and references. Construction Controls, Inc. provided the RFQ to four architectural firms located in Indiana and Ohio who have experience designing confinement centers, as it is a specialized area of practice for an architect. Three firms responded to the RFQ. Constructions Controls and the Board of Commissioners reviewed the submissions and ultimately selected Elevatus Architecture as the most qualified firm for this particular project.