From a Field to a Jail

Almost two years to the day they broke ground on a project to build a new Saline County Jail and sheriff’s office facility, officials gathered again at the same location to celebrate the completion of the project.

Back on October 27th of 2021 ground was broke on the project. On October 31st of 2023 a ribbon was cut inside the  150,000 square foot facility, in which 1,000 workers used over 100 tons of steel to complete.

Several people spoke prior to the ribbon cutting.

Saline County Commission Chairman Bob Vidricksen said he was very proud of the project, which “turned a farm field into a state of the art jail”. He noted that the only bars inside the facility was an antique jail door which was brought over from the old jail and serves as a decoration piece, separating the public lobby from the new jail.

Saline County Sheriff Roger Soldan said the new facility was much needed, and it has many beneficial upgrades from the current jail facility.  Among other things, it has much better sight lines and modern electronic security including 400 cameras, making working conditions much safer for staff. It also will allow for space and programming to help inmates with things like mental health issues to keep them from coming back once they are released.

The jail project includes:

  • 392 beds. A consultant projected that by 2038 the average daily population would be over 400.
  • Dedicated medical areas for males and females and dedicated areas for those that need mental health care.
  • Expanded program space to add programs to help with rehabilitation and re-entry.
  • Space for dedicated program staff with the potential to add facility specific social worker or mental health professional.
  • Energy efficient, utilities that are more accessible for repairs, staff efficiencies.
  • Includes a new Sheriff’s Office space for Administration, Patrol, Investigations, and Records.

Through the month of November staff will wrap-up training before inmates start to be moved over. As part of the training a sold-out “Slumber in the Slammer” event is planned for this weekend. Space was limited to 120 participants, who will all spend the night in jail this Friday night. The event will allow staff train, doing things like bookings, meal service, and testing of other systems.

The new jail project was approved by voters in November of 2020. A one-half percent sales tax to help pay for the new building was enacted on April 1st, 2022.

At a cost of $89 million dollars, the project stayed within budget.