Architect Sits With KLTV About Jail Proposal - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/11/2007-Smith Co.

Architect Sits With KLTV About Jail Proposal

The architect of the Smith County jail proposal knows what his vote would be on the jail bond. He says Smith County residents desperately need to pass it, and they need to do it now.

Every year Smith County doesn't start building a new jail, the cost goes up about $12 million. That's according to Jeff Bradley with the Architectural firm HDR.

Thursday KLTV sat down with Jeff, who has a lot of experience building jails.

"The justice system in most communities around the country are downtown and are centered around the courthouse," said Bradley. 

He compared the new plan to the two jail proposals offered in 2006. He said in today's market, the remote location would cost between $150 and $200 million because it left out crucial elements.

"It didn't include the infrastructure that would be needed. The water, power, sewer, roads needed to get out to that facility as well. That wasn't included in that cost," said Bradley.

He told us the downtown jail bond proposal of 2006, estimated at $83 million, would have a price tag today of $111 million. Because it too was also incomplete. He says it did not include parking, and contingencies for construction costs to increase.

"We are right in line with the what the downtown proposal before with cost escalation built into it," said Bradley. 

He said downtown locations are overwhelmingly better across the board. He said not only because of cost, but also because of the operational effectiveness of having the jail near the courthouse.

Mr. Bradley stressed this year's proposal has everything included.

"The Carlton building will go away and demolition cost are included, and the site acquisition costs are included," said Bradley. "In the old plan, it didn't include site acquisition costs or parking costs. All that has been added into this plan."

The new plans have been approved by the State Standards Commission.

So what does that mean for you? On a $100,000 home, your taxes would increase $66.41 if financed over 25 years. If financed over 20 years, it would cost an additional $75.15. Those over age 65 will not be affected at all.

"Carter Global Lee Master Plan was $225 million and ours is $125 million," said Bradley.

Mr. Bradley also said this cost is the bottom line and the bare minimum. That they truly eliminated the frills.

"Everything you need for this jail and this project, all the costs are in there," said Bradley. "Very detailed plans."

The only detail left ... Voter approval.

Danielle Capper, Reporting.


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