Jail construction gets vertical
The walls of the new Crook County jail are going up — quickly.
With several months of foundation work finally completed late this spring, the facility has begun rising out of the ground at a much faster pace.
"There were so many underground things that had to go in," said Crook County Commissioner Brian Barney, who serves as the liaison for county law enforcement. "It's amazing. I'm surprised there was enough room for the concrete."
Those underground things included an "immense amount of electrical, low voltage wiring and plumbing," said Dan Hopper, project manager for Kirby Nagelhout.
But with that part of the project behind them, workers are now busy building the walls of Sector A, which will house the jail's administration area, booking and intake, medical facilities, a laundry area and a kitchen.
All of the walls are reinforced with rebar, about 5-feet high and placed every 8 inches throughout the sector. Heavy duty detention door frames have already been installed throughout, although some of the walls are not yet built beyond the top of the frames.
"We will be topping out these walls in about one and a half to two weeks," Hopper said Friday.
The south side of the structure, by contrast, remains little more than a slab of concrete. Walls for Sector B, which is where the jail cells will be located, will begin after workers finish the walls and roof of the first sector.
"Sector A is just more involved as far as finishes," Hopper explained. "It is more detailed, so we want to get the roof on that area before Sector B."
If all goes according to plan, contractors will complete the interior and exterior finish work on one side of the facility and work on the jail cells and control room at roughly the same time.
Construction of the new 76-bed, $17 million jail began toward the end of August last year with contracting company Kirby Nagelhout leading the effort. Construction of the new facility, long-awaited by residents and local leaders who grew frustrated by lacking jail space, was made a reality with the passage of a tax bond in late 2016.
The project was delayed this winter by design changes made to keep the project within budget.
"We had to go through and do some more value engineering," Barney explained.
He explained in March that the original design, which was completed by DLR Group, included some higher-end items and because prices for building materials have increased, the inclusion of those items pushed the project out of budget.
"We had to eliminate dozens of skylights that were very expensive and do the basics that were necessary to provide a little sunlight," Barney said.
Citing another example, Barney said some plumbing designs that featured multiple temperatures for hot water were redrawn, scaling back to a single temperature.
"Some of the glitter and glamour was taken off of it," he said. "It is still going to be a very nice jail."
That delay followed another unexpected bump in the road during the fall when the county learned that the soil beneath the jail site would not support the structure without the addition of roughly 800 Geopiers.
These days, the project is no longer burdened by such delays.
"We are moving right along," Barney said.
Completion of the jail is expected in April 2019, after which staff from Crook County Corrections will move in and adjust to operating the new facility. That preparation is expected to take about two months, and then in June, the jail would officially open.
"I think it is going well," Barney concluded.