POMEROY — Since taking office in January, Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood has undertaken several renovation projects in the more than 100-year-old jail and sheriff’s office.
The brick building located next to the Meigs County Courthouse on Second Street in Pomeroy was constructed in the late 1800s following destruction by fire in 1894 according to previous reports.
The facility was home to the jail until it was closed in October 2002 by then-Sheriff Ralph Trussell. The jail was reopened in May 2006 following 16-months of renovations completed after then-Sheriff Robert Beegle took office.
When the facility re-opened in 2006, it was able to serve as a minimum-risk facility which could hold up to 10 prisoners overnight. The facility does not house female prisoners.
The jail was closed to inmates earlier this year for about six weeks beginning in mid-March following the suicide of an inmate.
During that time — as prisoners were housed in the Middleport Jail and Washington County Jail — work was completed to fix the plumbing in the jail and other items which needed to be corrected.
Wood said that through limited funds and donations, the jail now has a new camera system, fresh paint, a working shower, toilet and sink, and changes in the cells.
The cells previously had two bunks in each of the five cells to house 10 inmates. Now, the upper bunks have been removed, leaving the lower bunks. The jail can hold five prisoners overnight in the facility.
Unlike before the renovations, there is a restroom facility located in one corner of the jail. Before there had been toilets in each cell, with many plumbing issues related to it.
The remainder of the building, which includes offices for the sheriff, deputies and office personnel, has also received a face lift in the past few months.
Painting was completed in the offices and is now being done on some of the outside areas. The floors in the office were also replaced, and electrical repairs have been completed.
Wood stated that the renovation work has served as a morale booster for everyone at the office.
Plans for the near future include landscape work at the front of the building where two trees have been removed and painting around the exterior of the building.
Wood also noted that, at some point, the sheriff’s office must look at the infrastructure of the building and its stability for the future.
He added that the cost of housing prisoners outside of the county may outweigh the cost of a new jail facility for the county in the future. It is estimated that the county spends up $20,000 to $30,000 each month to house prisoners in other facilities including the Middleport Jail and Washington County Jail.