Possible uses for jail space


By Dean Wright - deanwright@aimmediamidwest.com



GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County Commissioners met for their regularly scheduled meeting Thursday in the Gallia Courthouse and discussed the potential future of the old Gallia Jail once the new one is constructed just northeast of the current courthouse along Second Avenue in Gallipolis.

Gallia County Clerk of Courts Noreen Saunders addressed commissioners about questions of budget issues where discussion eventually covered topics of records storage.

“If I’m in office in future years, I’d like to do imaging of my files (to store digitally),” said Saunders. “I’d like to do a lot of imaging to get some of the stuff I’ve got in storage and get things cleared out and taken care of.”

“There’s been some discussion about what we’d do with the jail when it’s no longer down there,” said Commissioner David Smith. “We could use it for some storage there because it’s about the only thing I think we could use for that space. I know you, and every county, is always looking for storage space…I think we need to look once it’s no longer a jail, we don’t want it to stay vacant. I’d be totally against that. It needs to be used for something and storage is the logical thing.”

Smith said that Saunders’ department naturally used a lot of storage and that while not now, in the future, he would like to discuss among county entities the future for the old jail space in the courthouse’s basement and if the facility could be “retrofitted” for storage.

“We’d have to dehumidify it,” said Saunders.

Smith asked if Saunders could look into any grant opportunities for records storage space construction.

Commissioners have estimated the new jail facility could cost between $10 million to $15 million and are investigating routes to finance the building. A quarter of a percent sales tax was enacted by the county in January to help fund expenses associated with the opiate epidemic as well as increasing crime costs with inmates.

The old jail has been cited by state and county officials with concerns for being an aging facility and difficult to maintain due to the age.

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342.

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By Dean Wright

deanwright@aimmediamidwest.com