The expansion for the Ector County Detention Center, which was previously estimated to begin this month, will take a little longer than expected.
Sheriff Mike Griffis said the main reason for the delay was because the architect had to redo some minor details regarding the design of the project.
Griffis added that they also had to wait to receive approval from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards to begin construction, which he said they have just received approval for Friday, and they have scheduled a groundbreaking ceremony to begin construction on Feb. 1.
The groundbreaking delay means the county will be spending more time paying around $8,000 a day to house inmates in other county jails. Ector County currently has contracts with eight other counties for housing inmates. Those counties are Parker, Hudspeth, Hale, Limestone, Lynn, McClennan, Scurry and Terry Counties, although Duesler said they may not be using every jail at all times.
As of Friday, Duesler said they are currently housing 595 inmates in the Ector County Detention Center and 144 inmates in other county jails. Griffis said it’s almost impossible to quantify how much each county jail charges to house inmates. Should another county not be housing any Ector County inmates at that time, they would not be charged.
The county has budgeted around $3 million for Fiscal Year 2018 for inmates housed outside of the county jail, which also includes the cost of transporting those inmates back and forth to the courthouse.
The expansion was first approved last May, with commissioners issuing $25 million of public debt to pay for the project, and the contractor, Cooper Construction, was selected by the Ector County Commissioners’ Court in December for a bid of $18.9 million, about $3.5 million lower than the money accrued from the public debt after accounting for the $1,380,450 of professional services, the $142,700 bond issuance cost and other soft costs, such as advertising and travel expenses.
An additional 60,000 square foot building will be added in the Ector County Law Enforcement Center expansion, including 412 beds to house more inmates inside the county.
The Ector County jail currently only has 667 beds. With the expansion, that number would increase to 1,079 beds.
Ector County commissioners approved an AIA agreement with JSA architects for the jail expansion in the amount of $1,812,500 and the hourly rate fee schedule last May, the same firm which designed the plans for the previous expansion in the ‘90s.
Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis previously said the jail expansion project is expected to be completed in around 20 months.