Douglas County Commission to discuss $4 million worth of jail maintenance improvements

photo by: Journal-World File Photo

The Douglas County Jail is shown in this Journal-World file photo from February 2015.

Several maintenance projects costing up to $4 million could soon be coming to the Douglas County Jail.

The County Commission on Wednesday will discuss a list of possible maintenance projects at the jail, including HVAC improvements that were originally to be completed alongside a now-discontinued jail expansion project.

The discussion is slated to occur during a work session, which means the commissioners will not take any action on the topic during the meeting.

According to a memo to the commissioners, some pieces of the jail’s original construction, which occurred in the 1990s, are reaching their life expectancy and will eventually need to be replaced. The county is proposing the maintenance projects as a proactive measure in avoiding more expensive replacements in the future, according to the memo.

County Administrator Sarah Plinsky told the Journal-World that the projects involved the $1.5 million central plant renovations, including the HVAC system, that were proposed to occur with a jail expansion. The County Commission discontinued the controversial $29.6 million expansion project in the fall, leaving the additional maintenance project undone.

Plinsky said the county consolidated other deferred maintenance projects with the outstanding HVAC improvements for the proposal. Other projects up for discussion include parking and curb resurfacing, elevator upgrades and sanitary plumbing replacements. The county’s total estimated cost for the projects is $4.02 million.

According to a proposed timeline, completing construction on all of the maintenance projects could take up to 11 months. The timeline shows the construction beginning in March and finishing by the end of January 2022.

During the regular meeting, the commissioners are not scheduled to consider any new business. However, some items are listed in the meeting’s consent agenda related to the Public Works Department acquiring easements for culvert replacements and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office purchasing new vehicles for $290,000.

The consent agenda allows the commission to consider and approve several items in one motion unless a commissioner or member of the public asks to pull an item for discussion.

The County Commission will convene at 4 p.m. for its work session and at 5:30 p.m. for its regular business meeting. The meeting will be open to the walk-in public at the county courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St., but a link for the public to watch live online is available on the county’s website, Residents may also call in and listen by phone by dialing 1-312-626-6799 and entering meeting ID 977 9241 6135.

Full audio from the meeting will continue to be posted on the county’s website, as usual. The meeting’s full agenda may also be found on the county’s website.

Contact Dylan Lysen

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