Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 21, 2017

Jail project now up to 60 beds

By Brooks Taylor, Mt. Pleasant News | Oct 25, 2017

Henry County’s proposed jail capacity keeps increasing.

Originally proposed as a 44-bed facility when county voters approved the $9.1-million bond referendum for the facility, the bed count had expanded to 55 when John Hansen of Midwest Construction Consultants, construction manager for the project, sent requests for proposals to architects earlier this fall.

Now, plans are being drawn for a 60-bed jail with expansion room for another 36 beds, Hansen told Henry County supervisors Tuesday.

Hansen said a 60-bed jail would require minimal increase of staff. “One person might have to be added,” he said. The construction manager also said that future expansion of the jail “would be reasonable (cost-wise).”

“It’s kind of a sad thing if we have to go to 96 beds in a peaceful county,” remarked Supervisor Gary See.

Hansen also said the state’s quick transfer of land to the county shocks him. “The land acquisition deal is the fastest I’ve seen the state move in a long time.”

The county plans to build the new law enforcement center on a six-acre tract of land on the campus of the Mt. Pleasant Correctional Facility, southwest of the former Mental Health Institute. It appears that the county will only have to pay for the survey, abstract updating and geotechnical services for the land, which will cost the county just over $16,000. “My understanding is that there will be no dollars exchanged,” stated Supervisor Greg Moeller, who has represented the county in discussions with the state over the land acquisition. “No dollar amount has ever been mentioned to me.”

Supervisors, during their weekly meeting Tuesday, awarded the geotechnical services contract to Geotechnics of Burlington for $4,700. The firm edged Terracon of Cedar Rapids by $100 for the work. Allender Butke Engineers Inc. of Urbandale also submitted a $6,830 cost for the work.

Under terms of the agreement, Geotechnics will conduct a subsurface exploration with test borings and soil sampling at the site of the new law enforcement center; a laboratory testing program; engineering analyses of the soil-structure interactions at the site; and a geotechnical report containing engineering recommendations for the design and construction of the buildings and parking lots/drives.

Geotechnics received the recommendation of Hansen and is expected to begin its work in early November. The work will take approximately 10 days to complete, he said.

Warner Engineering, who received the surveying contract, has begun surveying the site, which will be completed in early November, Hansen said.

“It looks like we are right on track,” Supervisor Chairman Marc Lindeen commented.

“We want to keep moving on it,” Hansen emphasized, relating that he hopes to send out construction documents to prospective bidders in February 2018.

In a remaining agenda item, Henry County Engineer Jake Hotchkiss said that epoxy work on the deck of the Oakland Mills bridge by the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) workers should be completed this week, dependent on weather, of course.

Iowa Bridge & Culvert of Washington began working on the second box culvert Monday on Nebraska Avenue. “Hopefully, they will have the box poured by the end of the week and backfill next week,” Hotchkiss said. He added county crews will begin grading on the north end of the two-culvert project if the weather cooperates. Although Hotchkiss hopes grading can be completed this fall, he said it will be finished in the spring if inclement weather makes it impossible to finish the work.

Work by the secondary roads employees last week included flagging for IDOT on Oakland Mills bridge; seeding ditches; working on several entrances around Winfield; working on signs; mowing road shoulders; and ditching on 120th Street east of Winfield.

Supervisors meet again in regular session tomorrow (Thurs.) at 9 a.m. in the courthouse.

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