By Bob Steenson, firstname.lastname@example.org
One option for a new Floyd County jail and Sheriff’s Department could cover an area from the southwest corner of the existing courthouse all the way to the Taco John’s parking lot.
The size of the possible addition surprised some of the members of a county law enforcement center (LEC) citizens committee that is tasked with making a recommendation to the county Board of Supervisors then support the recommendation to gain public approval.
The group met Thursday evening for its second meeting since the city of Charles City decided not to participate in a joint LEC project that could have made the Police Department and some city offices part of the addition.
Curt Field, an architect and project manager with Prochaska & Associates, an Omaha consulting firm working with the county, said the design was based on an estimate of the space required to meet the county’s and city’s needs.
“We produced what’s called a program, which was a list of all the square footages of the spaces that we thought would ultimately go into this addition,” Field said.
After the city decided not to participate, the police and other city spaces were dropped out and a plan was developed that shows how the remaining county spaces might work in an addition to the courthouse.
Jim Classe of Prochaska said the design was able to stay outside the 500-year flood plain except for parking areas, and also kept the buffer zone required of business zoning that butts up against residential zoning.
Classe said there are three options for the committee to consider:
- Option 1 — Close part of South Jackson Street, acquire property west of the courthouse and build a single-story addition. This is the option that was presented Thursday.
- Option 2 — Build a multi-story addition on existing courthouse property.
- Option 3 — Renovate the existing Sheriff’s Office into a temporary holding facility and transport all inmates to other county jails.
Both Field and Classe stressed that the drawing shown Thursday is preliminary and can be changed as needed.
It includes a 32-bed jail arranged in a radial pattern around a central control area and also includes an indoor exercise area and library.
Special emphasis was placed on keeping jail detainees segregated from the public when they are being transported into and out of the building and to court proceedings.
The design also has room for the Sheriff’s Department including locker rooms, a new public entrance lobby that would be attached to the southwest wall of the courthouse, a new public elevator and a new detainee elevator that would service all the floors of the courthouse, and additional parking northeast of the addition.
The proposed location of the elevators splits the current recorder’s office and splits the current assessor’s offices with corridors, and Field suggested those offices could be relocated to the fourth floor in renovated space that will be vacated by the jail and Sheriff’s Office.
In any case a plan needs to be decided for the use of the fourth floor or else the public will feel the plan isn’t complete, Field said.
Classe said it would still be possible to make decisions and have details ready for a public bond referendum at the general election in November, but the schedule would be tight.
Field said other needed renovations have been identified in the courthouse, such as new windows, and it makes sense to do everything as part of one project. As the project becomes more complicated it becomes less likely the proposal could be ready for a vote in November, he said.
The citizens committee will look at option 2 from Prochaska and Associates at the group’s next meeting, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 27.