Decision needed on new jail location

Marion County Commission is looking for a possible location of a proposed county jail.

Marion City Council had been approached by the commission regarding a location at the city's industrial park. The architect consultant suggested a lot that would be easy to access in a prime location, along U.S.-56. When commission chairman Randy Dallke asked the council about that lot, he was told that the council would prefer the jail facility be located in the back of the park, adjacent to a residential area off Kellison Street.

At Monday's commission meeting, Dallke told architect Tony Rangel of Law Kingdon Inc. that the commission was waiting for lot prices and other information from the city council.

"We may have to go out and buy our own land and do our own thing," Dallke said.

The ideal land size would be six acres which would allow for future expansion but Rangel said the jail could be situated on less acres.

A timeline was discussed of 45 to 60 days to finalize a design concept of the jail facility with solid pricing, and another 45 to 60 days to inform and educate the public about the proposed bond issue.

The commission is planning to have the bond issue on the ballot in the November election.

The commission also approved additional funds for the remodeling project at the jail, per the requirements of Kansas State Fire Marshal. Rangel advised the commission that an electric baseboard heater in a vestibule in the sheriff's department must be replaced. The project is planned for completion by mid-February.

Other security improvements also are being made.

The fire marshal's office also required the sheriff's department to have 24-hour staff available to safely remove prisoners from the jail facility in case of disaster. Sheriff Lee Becker said personnel has been hired and is being trained.

The commission approved a third payment to Hett Construction/Dusty Hett for $6,550 for the project.