Clinton County New Jail Site Process Continues

With the possible sites of the new jail down to four, the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission met Thursday at Clinton Community College to relay its findings and take the next step in the jail selection process. 

When the process began, there were 19 sites that were considered for the new jail. The site selection group starting meeting in October and met every two weeks for two hours through December. Once the committee was able to determine the criteria they wanted for the jail, they were able to eliminate several of the sites under consideration. 

“The first piece of criteria that we looked at was the size of that particular area or that lot and we made a determination that we would want between 3.5 and 5 acres, Clinton County Sheriff Rick Lincoln said. “We were able to eliminate several of those properties right away because they didn’t meet the footprint we had in mind.”

During the process, they heard from Shive-Hattery, an architecture engineering firm. They gave the site selection group two separate pre-architecture drawings, one at the current location and another if the jail was built in an open field. They also had the opportunity to hear from Shive-Hattery Architect Mike Morman and get some of their concerns addressed. 

“We were very fortunate that Mike Moorman, an architect for Shive-Hattery, happened to be in the area and asked if he could stop in and attend the meeting,” Lincoln said. “I think he brought us some good information for citizen members because we were concerned about a few things and he told us in the lifespan of that building those costs would be very insignificant over that time span. So some of the things that we got focused on really didn’t matter in the long term.”

The next step in the process is to get each of the four remaining sites assessed by an engineering firm. The CCJCC will have to come before the the Board of Supervisors to get permission to hire a professional engineering firm for this project. 

“It’s time to hire a professional firm, an engineering firm, to come in and do an assessment of those properties for us,” Lincoln said. “And they can look at soil type, drainage and other factors that will significantly impact the cost of building a new structure upon that piece of property.”

To get the four final sites assessed, Lincoln estimated that the cost would be between $8,000 and $10,000. Instead of trying to come up with this money in the budget, Lincoln and Lt. Craig Eberhart are suggesting using money they collect for inmate room and board. Per Iowa Code, the jail can charge room and board if someone is sentenced to jail. 

“That money can be used for a couple of things,” Eberhart said. “It can be used for courthouse security or improving infrastructure of the jail and we kind of thought that this fits the category of improving the infrastructure of the jail for the simple fact that we’re trying to get rid of it and get a new one.”

Originally posted on the Clinton Herald: New jail site process endures