GREENE COUNTY – A huge sticker shock, due to inflation, is changing plans for a long-awaited new jail in Greene County.
The county is moving forward with plans for a new 250-bed jail, but the project has been scaled back significantly and still costs more than the original plans.
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Inmates have been walking through the gates of Green County Jail for more than 50 years, but nearly every system in the facility is outdated. This has an impact on the safety of inmates and the correctional officers who work there.
Whether you’re in the basement or the third floor of the Greene County Jail, the words that come to mind are old and broken down. Work crews are constantly in the facility, doing everything they can to make things work.
“You can’t even get coins for things that are wrong, the spaces to get in and do repairs aren’t big enough,” Greene County Sheriff Scott Anger said.
Anger became sheriff about a year ago. He and correctional officers pointed to a pipe hunt where new pipes are built on top of old pipes and repairs are a nightmare. Spotting leaks is a daily occurrence, causing water damage everywhere.
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Heating and air conditioning systems are old and pressed for space.
The building, built in 1969, is simply collapsing in places
Prison officers are packed, people serving their sentences are packed, and voters recently rejected two different ballots to fund a new prison.
“The question has never been, do we need a new jail, is how are we going to pay for it,” Greene County Administrator Brandon Huddleson said.
Huddleson told News Center 7 that a new jail is the most significant project facing the county, so commissioners got creative even as costs spiraled out of control.
They hoped to build a 384-bed jail and a sheriff’s office complex for $50 million.
The plan now is for a new stand-alone prison with 250 new beds and it will cost over $60 million.
“That’s the inflation story right now,” Huddleson said.
The county is paying half the price with cash reserves and US bailout money and will have to borrow the other half. They believe the need is great and they cannot wait.
“This facility will be built so that it’s expandable, we can add another module down the road,” Huddleson said. “We are on the road, we are in the schematic design, this prison will be built.”
The new jail will likely be built next to the adult detention center at the western end of Xenia, near a county-controlled nine-acre site.
They hope to start next summer and, with a 24-month construction cycle, would likely be in the new prison in 2025.
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