Jail cells moved in

Matthew Rhodes/Register: Above, the new cells being brought into the Brookings Detention Center came from a company in Texas. They were stacked on top of one another and wheeled into place within the facility. Each cell is 8 feet wide by 12 feet deep and weighs 6,500 pounds. Courtesy photo: Below, with a tiered cell system, a balcony will be installed between the upper and lower jail cells in the Brookings County Detention Center addition. There will be a control station in the center where law enforcement officials can monitor each cell from a single point. From this office, they can control all of the locks and utilities that go to each cell.

BROOKINGS – New jail cells were installed in the Brookings County Detention Center last week.

The detention center is on track with its $15 million addition of a new cell system, new kitchen, and several additional offices and classrooms. The addition is set to be finished this fall. 

“Things are going great. We’ve got all the cells in now,” Jail Administrator Bart Sweebe said. 

The way the cells were installed was rather unique. Workers stacked one cell on top of another and then moved them into the jail’s structure. 

A portion of the addition’s eastern wall was left open to slide in the cells; crews did not use a crane to install them from above, since the architect and workers had constructed the roof beforehand.

Sweebe said they were put together essentially like Legos – the cells stacked on top of one another, creating a tiered system. Installers finished a day ahead of schedule because of how efficient the system was.

The new cells are preconstructed cell blocks made entirely out of steel and are made and installed by Cornerstone, a Texas-based company that specializes in detention center designs, products and services.

The cells have a cream-colored powder coating inside, a small table with two seats along one of the walls, a bunk bed that will have two storage containers underneath and a state-of-the-art plumbing system with knobs and dials that are essentially indestructible and monitored and controlled by detention center personnel.

Sweebe said that every area of the jail is being worked on simultaneously in order to reach that end-of-September finish date. The renovations to the existing jail and its offices will begin in October of this year.

“They’ve got all the concrete in, but they’re working on the booking room, kitchen. They’re welding the cells into place so they stay put. They’re doing some landscaping right now, and there are also a few roofers working on top right now, too. So there’s just a ton of stuff going on right now,” Sweebe said. “And as we look forward on our schedule, there are multiple things going on each and every day.”

“There hasn’t been any issue with construction or progress. Everything is just all moving forward. We couldn’t be more excited,” Sweebe said.

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