Weather delays new jail construction by one month

Published 2:35 pm Monday, September 25, 2017

COLUMBUS – Construction on Polk County’s new jail has been pushed back by a month after the area experienced more than normal rain over the past few months.


The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Sept. 18 and heard a construction update from Paul Luzier, with Moseley Architects.

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Luzier said the construction has experienced 22 days of bad weather, which has pushed the schedule from being complete this December to being complete in January 2018.


Luzier said construction is moving forward with the exterior of the building now, with the roof being started and the exterior insulation going in.


“Despite the weather, the contractor is still making good progress,” said Luzier.

Brick work to the outside of the building has also started, with Luzier saying he suspects over the next month a lot of the color will start to come in on the outside of the building.


An unexpected add-on to the project was also discussed, which includes an extra $10,000 due to how the framing ties the walls to the roof.


Luzier said they have been able to mitigate and manage any type of add-ons to the project and offset extra costs, but this one is the first sizable one of the project.


County manager Marche Pittman said he asked if there are any sizeable add-ons that Luzier bring them to the board of commissioners. Pittman also said the county is keeping track of add-ons to the project and he fully intends to come back at the end of the project to say these are omissions the county feels like the architect contributed to. Pittman also said the add-on does not mean the county is over budget on the project because of contingency built in.


The county built in approximately $900,000 in contingency for the project, but that also has to pay for items like fixtures, systems and furniture.


“I’m real protective of that contingency money,” Pittman told commissioners.


Commissioner chair Tommy Melton asked when the jail will be open for business, assuming everything goes perfectly from here.


Polk County Captain Jerry Williams said his hopes are they will have the detention center fully staffed and ready to open by April 1, 2018.


Construction of the new law enforcement center has been ongoing since December 2016 following a ground breaking ceremony.


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.


The construction bid to hire Cooper Construction was $9,603,350.