WICHITA FALLS, TX (RNN Texoma) - Wichita County leaders joined together Tuesday afternoon for a groundbreaking ceremony celebrating the launch of the building process for the new Law Enforcement Center.
Wichita County commissioners and the Wichita County Sheriff said a new law enforcement facility has been a long time coming.
It is a place they feel will improve the way the County Jail operates as a whole.
County commissioner of Precinct 1 Mark Beauchamp said, “It is our prayer that we have met the challenge not only for today but for the foreseeable future with the design and scope of this massive project.”
That project being a 70 million dollar facility next to Wichita County Jail Annex.
While planning for the facility has been in the works for over two years, Wichita County Sheriff David Duke said the need to have it has been much longer.
The annex that it will be next to was created over 20 years ago, and the jail in the courthouse was built in the 60's.
The wear and tear is why Sheriff Duke is glad to finally be one step closer to having a new facility that will not only be a better environment for staff, but also better accommodate inmates – especially when it comes to their health needs.
“…They’ll have the infirmary in-house right next to the booking center where nursing staff will be there, the doctor will come through there for that. It’s just going to be so much better for the relief of liability. The facility will be day-and-night different from what we have now. Just the environment itself will be a lot more quieter, a lot more peaceful, a lot more cleaner,” Duke said.
While the jail requires a rise in taxes, it also has the potential to increase employment. Local contractors will be a part of the building process, which is why the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce is on board with the project.
Chamber CEO Henry Florsheim said, “The reason that we’re excited about this project more than anything else is the 250 people that will be working out of this facility, the $70 million construction project voted on by the citizens of Wichita County. That’s a really good story to tell.”
Wichita County hopes to meet the needs of the Texas Jail Commission for many decades to come Sheriff Duke added, “This is definitely a step in the right direction. This is a step in history for Wichita County for the type of facility we’re building to last as long as a hundred years.”
Construction will officially begin in January 2019 and is on track to be completed by August 2020.