Bennett hopeful construction will be finished by this October
The foundation has been poured and the framework for the new Pierce County Jail addition starting to go up.
“We will begin to see some visible progress on the jail addition now as all of the foundation work has been completed,” said Sheriff Ramsey Bennett. “The building is about to go vertical. Block work is underway to begin framing the walls of the structure.”
R.H. Tyson Construction of Blackshear is the construction manager for the new $3.8 million jail addition that is being added on to the existing structure on Pierce Industrial Boulevard.
Sheriff Bennett expects the new addition will be completed sometime this fall.
“We are making good progress and barring any major weather delays, I would say the construction will be finished sometime in October.”
The current 72-bed jail was built in 1996 and has routinely exceeded capacity over the last few years.
The addition will add 93 beds to the facility increasing the jail’s capacity to 165 inmates.
At times, Pierce County has had up to 120 inmates, meaning up to 50 of the inmates were housed outside the county. Sheriff Bennett reported local taxpayers have paid $1.1 million over the past eight years for housing inmates outside of the county.
The county commission began talking about an addition several years ago.
Commissioners selected Studio 8 Design of Valdosta as the architect last February and advertised requests for proposals (RFPs) for the project in March. The bid for the project was awarded to Tyson Construction last July.
Tyson, as the construction manager, is responsible for overseeing the site preparation and building of the jail addition.
The existing kitchen, laundry and intake units at the current jail were all built to handle additional capacity. The addition won’t overwhelm those resources, Bennett says.
Bennett said the expansion should be adequate for Pierce County’s needs for the foreseeable future and possibly provide some revenue to the county by housing inmates from other counties.
The jail addition is being constructed using funds from the special purpose local option sales tax approved by the voters in November 2019.