By LISA SCHLICHTMAN
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 Street in Cassville.
Barry County jail busy in recent years
By LISA SCHLICHTMAN
Barry County Jail Administrator Jan Smith has released her summary report for 2008. During the past year, there were a total of 1,489 people booked into the Barry County Jail, which is 109 or 6 percent less than the number booked in 2007.
The daily average of inmates housed in the jail during 2008 was 49. The jail was built with a capacity to house 32 prisoners.
According to Smith, the lowest number of inmates processed and placed into the jail in one day was 33 and the highest number was 66.
Last year, the Barry County Commission awarded a $481,000 contract to Wehr Construction to complete a jail expansion project that adds 48 beds to the facility, giving the jail a total capacity of 80 prisoners. The project is scheduled for completion by the end of this month.
The total cost of the project is expected to come in at around $1 million. The county has already paid $472,815 to Tindall Corp., of Charlotte, N.C., for two pre-fabricated jail pods.