Archived Story

Jail panel to review companies’ abilities

Published 4:31pm Monday, November 18, 2013

When the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners’ jail committee meets Dec. 11, it likely will discuss companies interested in helping the county build a new jail and sheriff’s office.

During its Nov. 4 meeting, the board approved seeking qualifications from entities interested in doing architectural-design work for a new jail and sheriff’s office. It also approved seeking qualifications from entities interested in providing construction-management services regarding the building of a new jail.

The decisions do not commit the county to spending money to build a new jail, which would be located in the Chocowinity Industrial Park.

Voting for the two items were board Chairman Jerry Langley and commissioners Ed Booth, Robert Belcher and Al Klemm. Commissioners Hood Richardson, Gary Brinn and Stan Deatherage opposed the items.

Richardson, Brinn and Deatherage have said a new jail is not needed. They believe the existing jail is adequate to meet the county’s jail needs. They have said Beaufort County taxpayers cannot afford to pay for a new jail.

Richardson told the commissioners who voted for the architectural item that they have already “picked your man” for that work.

Jim Chrisman, the county’s finance director and assistant county manager, told the board that when it comes to architectural firms seeking the work, “We’ve got a list of four or five who have expressed interest.”

Interested firms must submit their qualifications statements by Dec. 9.

“The qualification packets will be reviewed on the basis of experience and expertise in similar past projects that will include the construction of a new detention center facility with attached Sheriff’s Office and 911 Center,” reads a notice about the request for qualifications on the county’s website.  “The detention center will contain approximately 250 beds and total square footage of the facility is estimated to be approximately 85,000 square feet.”

The committee meets at 1 p.m. at the county’s administrative offices at 121 W. Third St., Washington.

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