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Commissioners direct county manager to hire consultant for jail

Karen Martin, Associate Editor

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The Yadkin County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to direct County Manager Aaron Church to negotiate a contract price for services for a jail management study with the firm Ware Bonsall, whose offices are in Charlotte.
During the bi-monthly meeting of the Yadkin County Board of Commissioners, Church presented the recommendations of three companies that submitted proposals to conduct a jail analysis and develop a plan for Yadkin County.
The RFP (Request for Proposal) was sent out all over the nation by Church after direction by the board in January. The deadline for submission of proposals was 5 p.m. on Feb. 14. Five proposals were submitted, three of which were firms who had architects capable of designing a refit, remodel, new plans or a combination of any of the above after completing a jail study.
"The hiring of a consultant does not mean that the county is committing to building a new jail," Church said. "This gives us the opportunity to have an experienced firm come in and do a jail management study.
"All three firms selected employee architects," he said. "The purpose of this study is to develop a plan that will establish capacity requirements for a new jail, up fit the current jail or expand the current jail and identify ways of reducing the demand for jail bed space while maintaining public safety, and provide comparative initial estimates of the cost of various construction and non-construction plans."
Church submitted to each commissioner a copy of all the proposals for their inspection. After questions by all the commissioners about the proposed firms' experience and proposed scope of work, the commissioners agreed to select Ware Bonsall as the first choice and the Brennan Group, a firm out of Columbia, S.C. as its second selection.
Former Yadkin County Manager Jim Haynes provided a statement to the Yadkin County Commissioners based on his experience with the firm of Ware Bonsall.
"...I worked with Ware Bonsall (mostly Glen Ware) for over three years when I was County Manager in Richmond County. We began to study and then to plan for a new jail to replace the 79 bed jail that is currently used. Glen was able to handle the studies and desires of the individuals involved with no problem. He was able to explain the various styles of jail supervision taking into account the long term cost of jail operation which is a large part f the real cost of the jail, and made a reasonable recommendation with which the Board of Commissioners seemed comfortable...I found Glen Ware pleasant to work with and understanding of our limitations and concerns."
Ware Bonsall has over 20 years of experience in similar projects throughout North Carolina. Some of the projects include a Brunswick County jail study; a Cabarrus County jail facilities study; a Cumberland County detention center expansion feasibility study and the law enforcement center master plan as well as the law enforcement center study; a Davidson County facility master plan and the Davidson County Courthouse, Sheriff's office and jail master plan; a Gaston County jail conceptual site plan; a Madison County jail plan; a Montgomery County Detention facilities space program; a Meckelnburg County jail North Annex; along with over a dozen more similar plans, designs and studies across the state.
If a contract is secured between Yadkin County and Ware Bonsall, work should begin on the study within 30 days with a projected four and a half month time frame for completion of the study, said Church.
A motion was made by Chairman Austin to approve the selection of Ware Bonsall and was seconded by Commissioner Welborn. The board approved five to zero to direct Church to contact the firm for a viable contract to perform the study.
Commissioners Weborn and Zachary both commented on the need to move forward with the issue. In January, the commissioners took a tour of the current jail along with the Chief State Jail Inspector and Jail Inspector Litonya Carter. A report was sent to the county offices along with copies to the sheriff and the county commissioners. The report made recommendations of minor repairs that needed to be completed along with cleaning shower areas, moving mop buckets, replacing light bulbs and obtaining approval for a large metal storage unit that is housed outside the rear of the jail in close proximity to the building.
Recommendations for keeping the housing of inmate area free of debris and cleaning the cell floors, removing the cardboard that deputies placed to surround the television to prevent inmates from being able to turn the channel because the cardboard is a combustible component were also components of the report.
The next meeting of the Yadkin County Board of Commissioners is scheduled for 9 a.m. on March 7 at the county offices.

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