Jail project is finally finished

Thursday, February 26, 2009

After almost a year of construction, the Barry County Jail expansion project is now complete.

On Thursday, March 5 from 2 to 5 p.m., the Barry County Sheriff's Department and the Barry County Commission will host an open house of the jail additions. Area residents will have the opportunity to tour the expanded facility before it welcomes its first prisoners.

The project involved the addition of two new jail pods at the existing jail facility. Each pod holds 24 beds for a total of 48 new beds at the jail, giving the county the ability to house 80 prisoners. Each cell contains three beds and a metal toilet and sink.

In 2008, the Barry County Jail, originally built to house 32 prisoners, had an average daily census of 49 prisoners. Due to the overcrowding, Jail Administrator Jan Smith was often forced to put four people in one cell.

The total price tag for the jail addition stands at around $1 million. The general contractor's bid was awarded to Wehr Construction, of Springfield, in the amount of $481,000. The county also awarded a $472,815 bid to Tindall Corp., of Charlotte, N.C., for the two pre-fabricated jail pods.

The Barry County Commission was able to save up $800,000 in capital project funds to support the project. An additional $200,000 was borrowed from Security Bank of Southwest Missouri to complete the project.

Construction on the addition began in April of 2008. Originally slated for completion in October of 2008, the jail project hit several obstacles that lengthened its construction timeline.

"There have been multiple delays in the completion of the pods due to weather conditions or supplies not arriving on time," said Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly.

The open house is open to all area residents. Tours will be given throughout the three-hour event. Refreshments will be served. The jail is located at 505 East St. in Cassville.

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