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Commissioners move forward on new jail; approves hiring construction, design and bond counsel


The Sullivan County Commissioners announced they are pressing forward
on three big steps in their goal of a new jail construction following
a 90-minute executive session on Thursday.

The commissioners' three steps announced during a brief special
session that immediately followed:

• Will hire, pending paperwork, their bond counsel — Barnes and Thornburg.

• Will enter into negotiations with Garmong Construction to be their
Construction Manager as Adviser.

• And will sign a contract with DLZ for jail design, pending review by
commissioners' attorney Terry Modesitt.

"So those three very important things need to go for the startup of
getting everything going and moving ahead on the jail," commissioners'
president Bob Davis stated.

Commissioner Ray McCammon predicted they would have all the necessary
paperwork completed for those three companies by their next meeting on
Aug. 17.

DLZ principal architect Eric Ratts, Sullivan County Sheriff Clark
Cottom and Modesitt — via cellphone — all attended the executive

With these steps nearly completed, what is the timeline for the new jail?

Estimates of steps to be completed include:

• site determination and building programming will take two months

• schematic design will take two months

• design development will take two months

• construction documents will take three months

"And then they will have to go through the bid process," Davis said.
"That's going to take two or three more months too. So at that point
in time, we should be able to break ground. Probably close to a year."

Davis confirmed the commissioners are considering two possible sites
for the new jail.

"And we would entertain the exact right one if we could find it,"
McCammon laughed. "We're still looking."

"We've got to go in and do environmental work on a couple different
sites," Davis said, adding that DLZ has already performed preliminary
investigation by going through public records.

"And we've got to go in and do some actual drilling and boring on the
sites to find out and make sure nothing is there," he added.

"One site has a gas line running across it, the other site has a
little bit of wetlands on it," McCammon said. "So, one site doesn't
have sewer, one site does. Water is available at both, obviously gas
is there on one of them."

"Maybe not (on the gas), have you checked? commissioner John Waterman
said. "Because we had that one line down there they wouldn't let us
tap into it. So that might not be an option."

"We need to check into that," McCammon said.

"Because if that is a high-pressure line, they won't let you do it,"
Waterman noted.

All the commissioners confirmed the potential jail sites are near
Sullivan, with Davis adding, "just on the edge of the city limits."

When asked where in relation to the city limits, they all nodded their
heads when asked if it was the north end near Sullivan.

"We're moving forward … I don't know what else to say, really," Davis said.

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