Archive for Thursday, February 29, 1996


February 29, 1996


County officials say the design work on jail sites they rejected is adaptable to the chosen site.

Even before the Douglas County Commission chose a site for the new jail, the architects on the facility had finished the basic design.

That's because the schematic drawings they had prepared for previous sites easily could be adapted to fit the two finalist sites.

``We've already modified the design for a more open site,'' said Dan Rowe, project manager for Michael Treanor Architects.

On Monday, commissioners decided to build the jail on a 22.4-acre site south of the LRM Industries plant, which is three miles east of Lawrence on Kansas Highway 10. In doing so, they rejected a 30-acre site across the highway on the west end of the East Hills Business Park.

Commissioners came to that decision after looking at nearly 20 sites in the past few months. Extensive operational designs had been prepared for at least one of the sites.

Rowe said he'd present the proposed floor plan for the 196-bed jail to the county's jail advisory committee at 7:30 a.m. March 7. The meeting will be in the sheriff's conference room at the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center.

He'll also be working up a rendering of the building's contemporary-style exterior, which he hopes will reassure neighboring property owners that the county isn't going to build an eyesore.

``I think once we come out with what this is going to look like, with no razor wire, I think they're going to be happy with it,'' Rowe said.

In coming weeks, county officials expect to solicit proposals from construction management firms that would like to run the project. Commissioners already had struck an agreement with Universal Construction of Kansas City, Mo. but then reconsidered because no other firms had been asked to compete for the job.

They decided to take proposals after emerging Monday from an executive session to discuss potential litigation.

``We reviewed our purchasing policy for picking professional services,'' County Administrator Craig Weinaug said.

He declined to say whether the county had been threatened with legal action.

Construction of road and utility improvements for the jail may begin in late summer with construction of the facility to start early in 1997. The jail is expected to be completed by the end of 1998.

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