Justice center completion pushed back

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By Joseph P. King II

JACKSBORO—Completion of the construction of the Campbell County Justice Center has been pushed backed to November.

In May, Merit Construction Senior Vice President Steve Heatherly said construction of the center would be completed by September, but Project Superintendent Bill Dowd said design changes have delayed the finishing point to November.

One of the biggest design problems was a need to expand the north addition of the jail to accommodate cell sizes that were 25 to 35 square feet so they could be used for maximum security, County Project Manager Stan Marlow said.

“It wasn’t like they didn’t build it like we said,” Marlow said.

Another problem that delayed the project was rerouting the storm drain to travel from South Kentucky Street to Valley Street, Marlow added.

Since the project began in August 2011, an addition was built for the district attorney’s office and the sheriff’s office as well as commercial, kitchen and laundry faculties for the jail.

“It’s been another three phases to get to the point where we are now,” Dowd said. “We are at the point now where we are building the last section of the building.”

When completed, the 58,105 square-foot justice center will be inter-connected and include an expanded parking area, Dowd said.

The addition will also expand the jail by increasing the bed space from 150 to more than 300. However, even with the additional space, sheriff’s office officials don’t believe the jail expansion will be a permanent solution.

“I would assume years down the road we would have this same discussion,” Chief Deputy Aaron Evans said of the jail overcrowding issue in a previous interview. “It will take a little time, but we expect to be at full capacity when it is built.”

Construction of the building connector between the new justice center and old courthouse began Monday.

County Finance Director Jeff Marlow said the total cost of the project is about $12.3 million. The justice center was initially scheduled to be completed more than a year ago, with the completion date having been delayed several times since the project’s start.