Jail repairs near completionPublished 5:38pm Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Work continues to prepare the Beaufort County jail to reopen as soon as possible, with the cost to do so already near $600,000.
The county had set Tuesday as a target date to return inmates to the jail, which was evacuated in early June as the result of electrical issues at the jail, which is in the basement of the Beaufort County Courthouse. Christina Smith, the county’s public-works director, presented an update on the jail work during the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners meeting Monday.
“We have made tremendous strides in the past 30 days working to make the repairs we needed for the courthouse,” Smith told the board.
Smith went through a list of project accomplishments reached in recent days. They included the following:
• The state-required emergency generator to supply power to the jail in case of a power outage at the courthouse has been installed and inspected. Any day now, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is expected to approve its use.
• Because of the cost to repair the existing switchgear, a decision was made to replace it with new breaker panels. That work was completed Friday.
• The commercial dryer (which malfunctioned and triggered the evacuation and repairs) is being readied for return to service.
• Painting the jail’s interior is completed.
• Plumbing repairs have been made. All fixtures are operating property, with the exception of one shower, which was expected to be fixed by this past Tuesday.
The nearly $600,000 associated with the jail evacuation and repairs includes nearly $360,000 for housing Beaufort County inmates in other jails and correctional facilities. Maintenance costs, so far, come to nearly $145,000. Overtime costs associated with jailers and other Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office personnel used to transport inmates to and from those other jails and correctional facilities and guard those inmates at those facilities came to nearly $64,000 during the past three months.
Should the dryer not be ready for use by the time the jail reopens to inmates, a laundry service can be used to clean inmates’ clothes until the dryer is returned to service, Smith said.