Ground officially broken on new Floyd County jail project
By Bob Steenson, firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s been a year and a half since the project received voter approval, but almost 20 years that Floyd County has been thinking about changes needed in its county jail.
County officials and company representatives took the historic and mostly symbolic step Wednesday morning of officially breaking ground on the new multi-million-dollar county law enforcement center.
Work crews have for a couple of weeks been moving utility lines, beginning site ground work and removing concrete in parking lots and what used to be a city street that are in the path of the project.
But Wednesday was a chance to put on hard hats and pick up the customary golden shovels to officially mark the start of building a new jail and sheriffs office, as well as making updates to the courthouse.
County Supervisor Chairman Doug Kamm said he can remember the day distinctly in October 2013 when the county received a letter from Iowa jail inspector Delbert Longley, regarding the current county jail on the top floor of the courthouse, that said, ‘This jail no longer meets the needs of the staff or the inmates.’”
County Sheriff Jeff Crooks said a previous sheriff and a previous Charles City police chief had been looking at their needs for a jail since the year 2000.
Crooks thanked the county supervisors for approving the project, and especially Supervisor Linda Tjaden and County Auditor Gloria Carr for the work they have done helping keep the project moving.
He also thanked all the people who had served on the various committees over the years that have discussed and researched the need for a new county jail.
“We had different committees throughout the years and people did a lot of hard work on this thing. They really did,” Crooks said. “They looked into every different angle of what it was going to take, what the cost associated might be.”
Crooks said he wanted to stress that the reason for the project is the safety of county employees and detainees who are held in the jail.
“It’s going to be a headache off my shoulders. It really is,” he said. “Because, not to say things can’t happen, cause they will, things will happen, but the possibility and the probability of things happening when we get a new facility is going way down.”
Also on hand for the event were representatives of The Samuels Group, the company hired by the county as construction manager for the project; and Prochaska and Associates, the project architects and designers.
Supervisor Kamm said that over the 18 months since voters approved selling bonds to finance the project on May 1, 2018, it sometimes has seemed like the project goes ahead then takes a couple of steps backward.
“But I think we’re finally on the right track,” Kamm said. “So I’ll bring up the Nebraska comedian (Larry the Cable Guy) — Let’s just ‘get ‘er done.’”
Later in the day, the supervisors gathered again for a special meeting to approve more contracts for the project, along with one change order.
Supervisors approved a contract with Dean Snyder Construction of Clear Lake for $6.4 million for general construction; with Mid-West Roofing Co. of Mason City for $234,303 for roofing, flashing and accessories; with Continental Fire Sprinkler Co. of Omaha for $347,560, for fire protection systems; and with Wicks Construction Inc. of Decorah for $840,000 for concrete work.
The board also approved one change order, a reduction of $91,000 for Dean Snyder Construction, for switching to a different type of paint for the project, and for a different way of installing window openings.
The total cost of the project, including the updates to the courthouse which include new windows, some office relocations, a fire sprinkler system and tying into a new heating and cooling system to be shared with the law enforcement center, is around $16 million.