Officials say they hope to break ground on an almost $4 million expansion at the Canadian County Children’s Justice Center within the next few weeks.
The county commissioners on Monday approved three of the five projects that had been proposed for the facility.
Those projects include the construction of two storm shelters, a new courtroom and several new offices.
However, a proposed corridor that would limit access to the building and would improve security, as well as additional office space, were deemed either unnecessary or too expensive.
Overall, the project is expected to cost $3,916,633.
Alvin Nicek, with Renaissance Architects, said the bids came in below expectations.
“My feeling was that we were going to be $500,000 over the budget because of tariffs,” Nicek said.
The bids came in below what they had anticipated, allowing for the two additional projects that were approved.
Nicek said the project could be completed for less than was bid, depending on costs associated with materials.
The base bid, which includes two safe rooms and offices for the district attorney, was $2,104,902.32.
One safe room will be constructed in the detention area and will solely be used to keep prisoners safe during inclement weather.
The second safe room will be built in the main building and will be used to keep visitors and employees safe. It also will be used as a conference room.
That project was awarded by unanimous vote.
The second project is the addition of several offices on the west side of the building. The bid price was $1,225,773.98.
District 1 Commissioner Marc Hader voiced concerns about the project, and eventually voted against it.
Hader said some of his concerns had to do with office space that is being utilized by outside attorneys and other programs.
A contract attorney who works with the children’s center, as well as the county’s Court-appointed Special Advocates program both have offices at the facility.
“One of the concerns I have had is how we are allotting the space that we have. … If we are in a crisis for space, should we be housing CASA out there. We have attorneys for whom we are providing office space out here. I’m questioning the propriety of that, in the first place,” he said.
Also housed at the facility are offices for the court clerk and the district attorney.
While having those offices at the site are a convenience, he said, they aren’t necessary.
“Maybe (we should) think about how we are arranging people in the building right now before we spend large amounts of money on additional space,” Hader said.
Also approved was the construction of a new courtroom and related offices that will be needed after a new district judge is in place.
The cost of that project was bid at $675,956.90.
The addition of the secure hallway, which would limit how visitors could enter the facility, would have added $557,898.66.
The addition of another group of offices would have added $437,472.90.
Nicek said the third set of offices is something that might be needed in the future but isn’t necessary now.
The architects estimate for the three projects was $3,966,601.
Gary Plemons, president of Pillar Construction, said the plans, which already have been approved by the city of El Reno, will be taken to the state fire marshal’s office for review this week.
Officials are hoping for an expedited review of the plans.
Plemons said work on the project could begin as soon as the plans are approved.
Construction is expected to take between a year and 18 months, depending on the weather, Plemmons said.
During Monday’s Canadian County Commissioners’ meeting, the commissioners took the following action:
- Approved the Central Oklahoma Workforce Development Area Consortium Operations Agreement. The agreement involves Canadian, Cleveland, Hughes, Lincoln, Logan, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie and Seminole counties;
- Approved a contract with Advanced Work Zone Services for a striping project in District 2;
- Approved a contract with Atlas Paving Co. for work on the Manning Road Project in District 3;
- Approved naming a private road Enterprise Road. The road is near Geary;
- Approved a contract with North Oklahoma County Mental Health Center to provide community-based children and youth referral services. The contract is for the Canadian County Children’s Justice Center;
- Approved a contract with R.K. Black Inc. for a printer at the county clerk’s office;
- Approved a 40-hour leave donation from Larry Ross Reuter to Cyndie Bowers in the sheriff’s office. It is for sick leave;
- Approved an agreement with Union City to provide jail space at a cost of $32 per day per inmate;
- Approved permanent installation permits for OneOK for the Arbuckle II pipeline in Districts 2 and 3.
- Tabled a permit request from Newfield Exploration on a project in District 1. The landowners have declined to sign the appropriate paperwork.