GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County Commissioners and Gallia Sheriff’s Office representatives met with representatives from DLZ consulting, an architecture and engineering consultancy firm, Thursday, at the Gallia Courthouse to share conceptual plans of the new Gallia Jail.
Officials mostly listened to DLZ Principal Architect Eric Ratts share preliminary plans while asking questions about construction materials, flow of the building and discussing traffic surrounding the structure.
“These are all conceptual for now and we’ll be getting together pictures of renderings from individual perspectives,” said Ratts to commissioners. “We’ll be working with you to see what best works for your facility, so these aren’t final. We may need to move some things around.”
Currently, conceptual plans for the footprint of the building set it around around 18,380 square feet with a nearly 2,700 square feet vehicle sallyport, a controlled entryway, for the loading and unloading of inmates. Beds in the facility may allow between 120 to 130 inmates. The building would be located across the street from the Gallipolis Justice Center along Second Avenue, northeast of the Gallia Courthouse.
Conceptual plans reveal that the facility may be three stories in height with the first floor serving as the center of booking, administration, utility equipment and maintenance. The second floor would house inmates, and a third floor mezzanine, a partial third floor area open to the second below it via a staircase, would also house inmates.
Commissioners have expressed interest in an indirect podular remote design. Plans show a central monitoring security and control station to cut down on correction officer numbers and to allow for a maximum view of all inmate areas. Inmate areas circle the station, which would control all cell locks.
Currently, inmates are planned to be held in an open dorm environment with rooms potentially created from prefabricated metal cells. The facility will also have access to special custody cells with more traditionally locking cell doors.
Gallia Commissioners are still discussing the construction material of the building as well as where to place it exactly in its predetermined build site. Where the facility will be placed will determine traffic circling the building as well as how inmates are brought to and from the facility.
Gallia Commissioner David Smith voiced a desire to see a walkway connecting the courthouse to the new jail to increase security and minimize inmate foot traffic as much as possible.
Commissioners have estimated the 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 current Gallia Jail has been the subject of national attention after a string of jail woes, including inmate death investigations, escapes and reports of the jail not meeting state standards over the past few years. Critics have questioned jail policies while county officials have cited concerns with an aging building, overcrowding and funding to be key components with the jail’s issues.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342.