New Polk jail progressing despite heavy summer rains

Published 3:36 pm Wednesday, August 9, 2017

COLUMBUS – Polk County’s new jail is still on schedule to be complete by this December, despite heavy rains in July and August.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday, Aug. 7 and heard from county manager Marche Pittman and Paul Luzier, with Mosely Architects, about the construction.

Luzier said Cooper Construction was 38-40 percent complete with the project as of the end of July.

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A lot of the masonry walls are almost complete, steel joists are going in and they are starting to get a roof on the building, according to Luzier.

Luzier also said some ductwork is being done and temporary lighting is going in.

Duke Energy was on site last Friday to set the main transformer for the building, and Luzier said the main power line will be installed in the next couple of weeks.

“So the building is really starting to come together,” Luzier said, “enclosed and taking shape.”

The project has experienced a lot of rain in the last couple of months, with Luzier saying Cooper has taken 17 rain days.

Pittman said there was a significant wash recently, about 30 feet from the far back corner of the building where the law enforcement center and training room will be. That issue has since been corrected, according to Pittman.

“That is one thing we hadn’t anticipated, but the rain just hammered that side,” Pittman said. “We’ve been getting a lot of rain. Those guys have been working in mud.”

Luzier said the project has experienced a lot of weather, but despite that, Cooper Construction has maintained their construction schedule and they are still looking at a December completion date.

Luzier also said in July alone, there were 20 days the project experienced rain.

Construction of the new jail began in December 2016.

Polk County received a $13.5 million loan to construct the new law enforcement center, which will include a new jail and sheriff’s office, located off Hwy. 108, just outside Columbus and adjacent to Milliken.

The new jail will be a 60-bed facility, compared to the current jail, constructed in the 1970s, which is a 25-bed facility.

The county purchased 19.19 acres of property adjacent to the Milliken plant just outside Columbus Town Limits for $1,950,000 and another 2.6 acres off Park Street for $125,000 for a total land purchase price of $2,075,000 to construct the new law enforcement center. The purchase price included site preparation for the new law enforcement center. Some of the property was purchased for future needs, such as a new courthouse and possible administrative offices.

Cooper Construction’s bid was $9,603,350.

The new jail will house females and juveniles, which Polk County’s current jail is not equipped to do.