Work begins on jail expansion, remodel

Demolition started this week at the Brookings County Detention Center property, as contractors tore down the outdoor recreation center, took out a parking lot, and moved in equipment in preparation for renovations and additions to the jail.

“They’re just preparing the site is what they’re doing,” Sheriff Marty Stanwick said. “Once they get the site prepared, there’s going to be a fence put around it for security and safety and so forth, and from there, they will be preparing footings and stuff. So right now, they’re getting everything that needs demolished done.

“The only thing that’s really going to be tough is that we lost our sally port, but we’ve got an alternative entrance for all of that, and we’re still going to be able to maintain security for bringing in inmates and arrests for other agencies.”

The 24/7 program will be administered in the fingerprint room of the jail, along with booking and regular fingerprinting procedures. Stanwick said it will be a tight squeeze working with so much in one room, but once the new jail is completed there will be specific areas designated for each program.

“We still have a basement rec area, so that’s not going to be an issue for the inmates. But they’re going to make a temporary enclosure for us for when we bring in other arrestees from other departments for us. … They’re going to be able to come through in an enclosed area, but it won’t be for vehicles,” Stanwick said.

Stanwick said much of the jail’s structural work will begin in March 2021, due to how much preparation is needed on the jail and the foundation for the expansion.

The jail lobby will remain open for the general public. All appointments will be made accordingly, and Stanwick said that the east doors will be the primary entrance for most people.

“It’s been a wait, but when this is done it will be all worth it. I think we’re going to have a nice facility that’s going to look great in this neighborhood, but I’m just a little anxious to get it built,” Stanwick said.

“There are so many things other than cells. I’m excited that we’ll be able to have an area that will be able to house somebody having a mental illness episode and that we don’t have to put them in with the rest of the population and we’re going to have a medical wing for them,” Stanwick added. 

“Right now we struggle with quarantine, making sure that we don’t bring the virus into the facility, but with the new facility we’ll be able to quarantine and do a better job with the classification of inmates. We’re also going to be able to have two safe rooms that aren’t jail cells. They’re going to be a softer room for somebody who is having (mental health issues) for those we can’t get to the hospital right away, and they’ll be right next to the medical wing.”

The guaranteed maximum price for the jail expansion project is estimated at nearly $15.1 million, and soft costs could add another $2 million. Henry Carlson Construction is the main contractor on the project, which has been designed by architecture firm BKV Group. Completion is anticipated by spring of 2022.

The City of Brookings recently withdrew its appeal to the state Supreme Court, regarding a Circuit Court ruling on the county jail expansion, with the city and county approving a settlement agreement last month. Read the story at the Brookings Register.