Board to consider jail matters
Published 5:37 pm Friday, January 3, 2014
The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners’ jail committee is recommending the county contract with Moseley Architects for architectural services related to building a new jail/sheriff’s office facility.
That recommendation is scheduled for presentation during the board’s meeting Monday. The committee also recommends the county contract with MB Kahn to provide construction-management services for the project, if it goes forward.
Those firms were among entities that submitted their qualifications to perform such work.
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.
Those decisions did not commit the county to spending money to build a new jail, which would be located in the Chocowinity Industrial Park.
The qualifications were due Dec. 9. The jail committee reviewed them Dec. 11.
Some people have questioned the last jail study performed for the county, a study done by Moseley Architects. Keith Kidwell, chairman of the Beaufort County Republican Party, is among those people.
“There has been no study done — by an independent organization that does not stand to make a profit from the building of a jail — as to what the need in Beaufort County truly is. There are organizations out there that do these studies and say, ‘You need a jail. You don’t need a jail. If you need a jail, this is what you should build and this is where you should build it.’ We had no input outside of Moseley from any professional. And Moseley stands to make a profit from this,” Kidwell said at the board’s October meeting.
Kidwell refers to Moseley Architects, which is based in Charlotte and specialists in jail facilities. Moseley prepared a space-needs analysis regarding a possible new jail and law-enforcement center for Beaufort County. The firm has recommended building a 232-bed jail, a new Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office facility and video courtrooms (for first appearances by defendants on charges and possible bail hearings) for just under $22 million, according to Republicans like Commissioner Hood Richardson who are opposed to building a new jail.
A little more than a year ago, three plans were presented by Moseley Architects to the county (see accompanying sidebar). Those options have been modified since then.
Original jail options
These options regarding a new jail and possibly other law-enforcement/judicial facilities were presented by Moseley Architects’ Todd Davis and Dan Mace to Beaufort County officials in October 2012.
Option A, at a total estimated project budget of $33,487,297.29, is a three-story, 94,460-square-foot facility with 290 beds, to be built behind the existing courthouse. The plan calls for the demolition of two, possibly three, buildings on Market Street: the building housing the Beaufort County Health Department’s environmental-health division and tax office, the sheriff’s office and possibly the building owned by Richardson, as it shares an exterior wall with the sheriff’s office. The proposed budget allots an estimated $3 million to construct new buildings for displaced county officers, though no location for those offices was proposed.
Option B, with an estimate of $28,147,642.18, is a three-story, 85,825-square-foot detention center holding 262 beds. No demolition of surrounding buildings is called for in this plan, where the loading entrance is located on the eastern side of the building, behind the Market Street buildings, and prisoner transport will take place down the narrow drive off Third Street, between the county offices and 117 W. Third St., occupied by attorney David Francisco.
Both options draw the jail’s main entrance on Union Alley, between Second and Third streets. As the plans would require construction on existing parking lots behind the courthouse, Moseley Architects included $5 million in the budgets for a parking deck in the near vicinity. At three stories, Mace said, the proposed buildings would approach a 64-foot height.
Option C plans for a one-story, 84,275-square-foot facility with 290 beds, at a projected cost of $22,795,638.46. Included in the budget is an acquisition of 25 acres of land for the new facility.
Mace and Davis were clear that the three plans represented jumping off points for the harder work of tweaking the options.