Construction will start this fall and continue through the winter with a scheduled completion date of December 2018

JASON CHANEY - A large section of land is fenced off where the new Crook County Jail will eventually get built. According to Crook County Sheriff John Gautney, utility work will continue this month with foundation work set to start by early October.

Work has begun on a new local jail and to commemorate the launch of the project, county officials will host a groundbreaking event next week.

The event will take place Thursday morning at the Crook County Sheriff's Office, and speakers include Sheriff John Gautney, Crook County Judge Seth Crawford and citizen jail committee chairman Mike O'Herron as well as Jeff Deswert, the president of Kirby Nagelhout Construction, the company building the project.

The event is open to the public, although law enforcement leaders made a point of reaching out to certain people in the community.

"We specifically invited the members of the jail committee," Gautney said, "because they were the ones who got this whole thing started."

Invitations also went to graduates of the different citizen academies the sheriff's office has held during the past few years. Gautney explained that many of the graduates had either served on the citizen jail committee or played a role in developing the jail project.

"We wanted to make sure they had a first chance to see where we are at and be a part of the initial groundbreaking," he said.

The ceremony will officially kick off the construction phase of the new 76-bed, $17 million jail and provide local leaders an opportunity to thank people who helped make the project possible.

The groundbreaking comes at a time when some utility work and other site preparation has already begun for the jail.

"The demolition has been done on all of the buildings (the former men's homeless shelter and Rebel's Roost), and lots have all been consolidated. The surveying has all been done," Gautney said. "What we are doing now is the utility work."

Second Street was closed this past week to allow installation of a sewer line, and a water line and gas line will go in as well.

"That will all be done before they start the ground work for the foundation," Gautney stated.

The jail foundation will feature several Geopiers, an addition that the county learned would be necessary after conducting soil tests on the jail property recently.

"Based on those drillings, they found that the soil was too soft," Gautney recalls. "A couple or three years ago, new seismic regulations went into effect for this area because we are in a 'seismic active area.'"

Foundation work is expected to start by October, and Gautney said that jail construction will continue through the winter, barring extreme cold that makes concrete work impossible. According to the construction schedule provided by Kirby Nagelhout, people can expect to see jail walls going up by mid to late December. Barring unforeseen delays, the jail will be completed and operational by December 2018.

"It is becoming a reality," said Crook County Undersheriff James Savage. "We have been in planning and preparation for so long. Now, it's becoming a reality and rewarding all of the hours the citizens have put in that got us to this point."

The Crook County Jail Groundbreaking Ceremony will be held at the Crook County Sheriff's Office, 308 NE Second St., on Thursday, Sept. 7, from 10 to 11 a.m. Refreshments will be served following the ceremony.

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