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Commission approves final jail contract

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Two years after a construction contract for the Cabarrus County jail was first put before the County Commission, the final, $57.9 million component of the agreement has been OK’d by the board.

By Eric C. Deines
[email protected]
Two years after a construction contract for the Cabarrus County jail was first put before the County Commission, the final, $57.9 million component of the agreement has been OK’d by the board.

A series of lawsuits, hold-ups and modifications snared the project for the better of those two years – ballooning the price tag for the 480-bed housing unit by about $12 million, officials said.

The obstacles associated with the jail project have led some in the community to deem it “the jail saga.”

“I’m sorry to say it couldn’t be less,” Commissioner Joni Juba said at Monday’s board meeting, where commissioners approved the contract 3-1. “But with all the delays, I think this is good enough.”

In May 2006, Concord City Council granted the county a permit to build the 300,000-square-foot project.

But on the day commissioners were to approve a $101 million construction contract for the entire jail project, a group of residents appealed an earlier decision to the N.C. Court of Appeals, which favored the jail project in its vote in early 2008.

During that time, the sheriff’s office portion of the project was split from the large housing unit. Together, the buildings were estimated to cost $79.7 million.

The county completed a $15 million, 96-bed jail annex in November 2007, and it was occupied earlier this year.

A $33.9 million Sheriff’s office was completed this month.

No public comment was made Monday night as to the construction contract.

In the initial stages of the jail project – before a $15 million annex was added to the design for the short-term relief of jail overcrowding and inflation of material costs – the project was once estimated to cost $60 million.

Commissioner Bob Carruth noted that the life of the jail project at the current site has seen three different County Commissions.

“(The price) would have been lower two years ago,” Carruth said, noting rising fuel costs and material demands caused by Hurricane Katrina as other reasons for cost increases to the project.

Commissioner Coy Privette voted against the contract Monday, saying that costly projects, such as the jail, are the reason for the county’s high property taxes.

Commissioner Grace Mynatt was absent from Monday’s meeting.

At it’s August work session, the County Commission unanimously approved $1.2 million for the order of long lead steel materials, like cell doors and door frames, which will make for $376,359 in overall savings for the housing unit.

• Contact Eric C. Deines: 704-789-9141.


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