Wichita Co. Commissioners meet with all parties to discuss future of new jail

Wichita County Jail
Wichita County Jail
Wichita County Jail
Wichita County Jail

WICHITA COUNTY, TX (KAUZ) - Wichita County Commissioners are moving forward with plans for the new $70 million dollar jail.

They met with all the players for this project on Wednesday.

Finances, construction, and issuing bonds were the focus.

Members of the Sheriff's office, architects, financial planners, and commissioners were all there to talk about the next steps.

All parties left with a clear vision and are optimistic moving forward.

"When everybody's talking together, we have a good chance that everybody's getting the same information," Wichita County Judge, Woody Gossom said.

It was their first meeting to discuss the jail.

Judge Gossom said they need to come up with plans to be reviewed and approved by the Texas Jail Commission.

Then they can start going after bonds.

"Those will come back, we will have gone through the budget process, and set the tax rate for those," Judge Gossom said. "And it was pretty well decided today to go ahead and get the whole $70 million dollars issued."

Judge Gossom said they could have paid for the project in pieces, but decided it was a bad idea because so many different factors can change.

H.O.K. Architects also talked about what is next for them.

"The next steps involve really finalizing the amount of space, the type of space, the types of beds that are going to be in this new jail facility," Kurt Parde, V.P. of H.O.K. Architecture said. "Then from there developing costs estimates that support that type of space."

After that, they can develop the concepts.

Parde said it is important to have everyone at the table.

"Trying to balance all those needs in meetings and people together into a cohesive design, in the end, is what we are here for," Parde said. "And we will make it happen."

He said this is the most exciting time.

"This is what we live for," Parde said. "Bringing together ideas and working with people to give them new facilities that they need to do a better job for the county. It's going to be a long-lasting facility for the county. It's going to be much more efficient than their current facilities. So I think to take that all into account, it's going to be a great facility for the county."

Parde said the design project includes the schematic design, design development, and construction documents.

Each of those phases needs to be approved by the Texas Jail Commission.

Design planning is expected to take eight months, putting it out for bid an additional two months, and construction 24 months.

All parties are optimistic it will be open by spring of 2020.

Judge Gossom and Parde both said that all parties have been great to work with and there will be many more meetings like this held in the coming weeks.

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