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County admin/jail project could cost $21 million

Increased costs to the Dallas County administration building, located east of Adel, raised some concerns with the Board of Supervisors during a special Thursday meeting.

The administration/jail site could cost as much as $23 million – $6 million more than what was originally brought to the board. However, during Tuesday’s regular meeting, the cost was brought down to around $21 million. The cost includes the administration building, jail/administration building and re-purposing current county offices at 201 Nile Kinnick, 907 Court and 902 Court.

“My concern is that the jail portion will almost cost as much as the administration building,” Chair Mark Hanson said. “I understand why part of it is more expensive, but when you tell me the kitchen amenities and cameras might not be included in the price it raises some concerns.”

A proposed site includes 61 cells, which can be double bunked, a central control station overseeing the units, an enclosed outdoor area, a day room, exercise room, a sally port with a booking room, laundry and kitchen area in the secure site, office, multi-purpose room, exam room, nurse’s office, a courtroom, general office space including evidence, filing rooms, training rooms, and a possible visiting area.

Sheriff Chad Leonard stated the increased square footage was added to the site design to accommodate population growth.

“We were asked, when the study was first completed, to look into the future and to come up with a site that could accommodate growth 15, 20 years down the road,” Leonard said.

Hanson agreed the site needs to take into consideration population growth, but said an increase in dollars is still concerning.

“I knew it (the jail) was going to be more expensive, but it’s still hard for me to fathom because we have to bond for this,” he said. “I don’t have a problem asking taxpayers to help us with what we need, but I think there’s a better way for us to do that.”

The board continued discussions during their regular Tuesday meeting with Jerry Purdy with Design Alliance, Inc., a Waukee-based firm in charge of site design, who sketched a draft of combining the buildings, lowering the estimated project cost to $21 million with a bond issue around $17.72 million.

“We thought about connecting the buildings and what piece we could use as a connection,” he said. “We chose to use the Board of Supervisors and the lobby area of the jail as the connecting areas.”

The design would reduce the size of the courtroom, kitchen, restrooms, and conference rooms.

“In the jail/administration portion we had included 20 percent design contingency and taking five percent design contingency away so that allows me to reduce growth square footage and keep the functionality the same,” Purdy said.

The board hopes to have an exact cost estimate of the project by the end of the month.

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