Mt Pleasant News

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Neighbors Growing Together | May 21, 2018

Another site for county jail?

Supervisors discuss a potential second site for county jail
Sep 01, 2017


By Brooks Taylor, Mt. Pleasant News

A potential second site — at least in the discussion stages — has emerged as a location for the new Henry County Law Enforcement Center/Jail.

During Thursday’s county supervisors’ meeting, in which the board approved the contract with Midwest Construction Consultants of Houghton to serve as the construction manager for the facility, supervisors said they would be studying another site. The board did not divulge much information, only that it is located near Access Energy Cooperative, which is on West Washington Street.

Supervisor Chairman Marc Lindeen said Supervisor Gary See had been approached about the tract of ground. See, however, was not at Thursday’s meeting.

A firm location for the project was not stated on the ballot for the Aug. 1 special election in which the issuance of $9.1M in general obligation bonds to finance the project met with nearly 85 percent approval.

Supervisors, however, indicated the law enforcement center could be built on six acres of county-owned land near the Christamore House on the eastern edge of Mt. Pleasant.

“We made it clear (before the election) that we wanted (to build it on) our land, but that we reserved the right to build it on another site,” Lindeen said.

“If you are considering an alternate site, you should find out if it is available and the cost of it,” John Hansen, president of Midwest Construction Consultants, told the board Thursday. “All we are looking for is general information and the cost (of an alternate site).”

Hansen said six acres of land is considered an appropriate amount of land for a law enforcement center/jail.

There also has been some talk of using the former Mental Health Institute (MHI) campus for the center and jail.

The problem with the former MHI ground is that it is state owned and no one knows when or if it would be available.

“I would be worried about delays and contingencies with the state property,” Hansen remarked.

Henry County will pay Midwest a base fixed fee of $298,500 for its work. In addition, the county will pay $7,200 monthly for a full-time, on-site inspector which brings the total cost to $384,900. The county will be assessed a 59-cent per mile charge for mileage when Hansen visits the construction site. Hansen will not be the on-site inspector.

The next step in the process is finding an architect. Midwest will handle most of the preliminary duties in the search as Hansen said he will send out a request for proposal (RFP) for architectural services this week with a deadline of Sept. 15 for submitting proposals. The supervisors will select the architect.

Hansen said points to be considered in the architect selection process “is not only the fee schedule, but also the experience and qualifications.”

“We are looking at who will do the best job for us,” Lindeen echoed. “Spending $500,000 is a lot of money and we want it done right.”

In its RFP, Midwest said the project would consist of a jail with approximately 50 beds (before the election, it was said the jail would be a 44-bed facility) with room for future expansion. The overall space requirements of the center and jail are in the range of 19,000 square feet.

Hansen’s RFP includes a construction budget of $7.6-$8 million.

Supervisors want to select the architect at either their Sept. 19 of Sept. 21 meeting. “By the first of October, we want to have everything in place,” Lindeen said.

It is reasonable to assume, Hansen said, that a general contractor bid for the center could be awarded in either February or March of 2018. The center will take approximately one year to build.

County supervisors meet again in regular session Tuesday, Sept. 5, at 9 a.m., in the Henry County Courthouse.

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