Jail Project Positive Progress Continues

Positive progress continues on a project to build a new Saline County Jail and sheriff’s office facility.

According to Saline County Administrator Philip Smith-Hanes, on Wednesday, March 2nd, a team including county staff, architects, and construction managers ventured to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to review the first precast block of two cells that has been manufactured for Saline County’s jail. The tour was valuable, as a couple of further modifications are necessary to ensure inmate safety in the final cells.

Production of the cells in South Dakota will ramp up over the next few weeks. Following time for drying and curing of the concrete, the cells will then be transported to Salina later in the spring.

Back in Saline County, the Sheriff and County Administrator toured all the footings that have been poured on the building site on March 9. The shape of the building is now starting to be visible not just on a blueprint, but on the actual ground. Staff was able to see where the cranes will be positioned to hoist the precast cells off of trucks and onto the footings once they arrive.

The new jail project was approved by voters. A one-half percent sales tax to help pay for the new building was enacted on April 1st, 2021.

The special half-cent sales tax that is funding the jail construction bond payments continues to come in strong, based on continuing growth of taxable sales throughout the community. The County made the first interest payment on last summer’s bond issue in February, but funds are already available for the first principal payment that is due in August. While it is still early in the payment process, a very conservative estimate projects that the bonds will be paid off up to seven years early.

Estimated completion date of  the project is September 2023. Plans for the new jail include:

  • Facility will be 392 beds. A consultant projected that by 2038 the average daily population would be over 400.
  • Will have 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.
  • 49 additional full-time staff will be needed to run the facility at full capacity, the Jail already employs 55 people.
  • Includes a new Sheriff’s Office space for Administration, Patrol, Investigations, and Records.