Crews began working Monday to tear out a parking area near the Canadian County jail as officials begin construction on a secure garage.
Sheriff Chris West said crews from Key Construction began putting up fencing and removing the asphalt parking lot between the jail and the historic jail and stables.
Key Construction won the contract for the 4,000-square-foot project in June with a bid of $512,000.
West said the project is being funded through a combination of sources, though none of the money is coming from the county’s general fund.
Initially, West had hoped the cost of the project would be under $300,000. That would have allowed him to use only money from his federal asset forfeiture fund.
However, because the project’s cost was almost double that amount, West said money from two other funds also will be used.
West said he plans to use excess money from the county jail’s commissary fund, which is revenue made through the company that operates the commissary, and the prisoner care fund, which is a reimbursement from the state for holding Department of Corrections prisoners at the county jail.
“These aren’t budgeted monies,” West said. “This is money that has been generated or earned.”
The project is expected to take about three months to complete and is a few weeks behind schedule.
West said a paperwork glitched caused the delay.
The project will temporarily create a few parking issues, but West said it will be worth it.
“It will be a temporary inconvenience. … It will be an improvement to the jail that will last well into the future,” he said.
West announced plans for the jail in July 2017, saying the need for the garage, called a sally port, was greatly needed.
He said the facility will provide secure options for officers to transport prisoners and evidence.
Currently, inmates are transported in the open.
The facility, West said, will have enough space to provide storage for the sheriff’s office, as well. Currently, much of the office’s non-evidentiary storage is held inside large containers behind the jail.
West said the building’s exterior will match the jail’s exterior.