Sheriff gives input on jail project

The Nolan County Commissioner’s Court met on Monday morning, April 23, and Item #5 on their agenda was to consider approval of the architects’ plans for the new Sheriff’s Offices and Jail.The Commissioner’s Court voted unanimously to approve a motion to accept the architects’ plan for a new Nolan County Jail and Sheriff’s Offices. The architect for the project is Wiginton Hooker Jeffry Architects, P.C. and the presented plan is for a 34,625 square foot facility. Of the total square footage, 27,777 S.F. will be dedicated to the 96 bed county jail function with 6,848 S.F. dedicated to the Sheriff’s offices. The motion was approved, contingent on determination of total project cost.The Nolan County Commissioners recently started the request for proposal (RFP) process so they can begin the selection of a construction manager at risk to serve the county both on the new jail and sheriff’s offices as well as the courthouse exterior repairs and renovation.Sheriff David Warren said he was very pleased that the commissioners had completed this vital decision. According to Warren, “There are still several more steps to come in the process, but this was one of the most important. We have to know what we will build.” Sheriff Warren explained that the process of getting to this plan was time consuming but very beneficial. “I have sent this floor plan to the Texas Commission on Jail Standards for a brief preliminary look. They are pleased with what they have seen so far and have praised the County Commissioners and the architects for coming up with a plan that is very efficient and makes good use of every square foot,” Warren said. The Texas Commission on Jail Standards will begin to study the plan in detail and decide on a formal approval in the very near future. “This plan is a conservative, tight and cost effective plan for our tax payers,” Warren added.Nolan County has been housing its excess prisoners out for over 12 years and have several other issues that have prompted the jail commission to advise Nolan County to move forward on a new facility. The County Commissioner’s Court and the Sheriff held five public meetings throughout Nolan County back in November and December so that all facts and information could be disseminated to the general public and taxpayers could have a chance to offer input. Warren stated, “The citizen input was very positive in those meetings as we detailed both the new jail and sheriff’s office issue as well as the courthouse exterior problem. People understand that both things must be done and are ready to see them get underway.”“I really appreciate the hard work on the part of the County Commissioners. It is certainly not easy being faced with both of these large projects at the very same time,” Warren said. Once the county selects a construction manager at risk, the actual costs for both projects can be more closely determined and then the County Commissioners can look at the bond financing process that will most likely follow the certificate of obligation (C.O.) method. The county selected a financial advisor and bond counsel back on Nov. 28, 2011, which was the date of the first public hearing and those firms, will assist the county with the bond financing process that will pay for both projects.