Stearns County is moving ahead on the remodeling of its Law Enforcement Center. Commissioners today approved awarding $2.7 million in bids to contractors to do the construction.
Thirty-one individual pieces of the remodeling project went out for bid, on everything from security systems to jail toilets, and 84 companies bid on those projects. It was an open competitive bid process, and overall the bids came in $123-thousand below original estimated cost.
Stearns County needs to remodel the Law Enforcement Center for safety and security reasons. Plans are to expand the booking area to make it safer, to accommodate the 8,000 – 9,000 bookings done by Stearns County every year. Plans also call for downsizing the work release inmate area since it’s under-utilized. That area will go from 60 beds to 12. Remodeling will also add more male housing, nine more cells, and eleven more female cells. Stearns County transfers about ten females a day to other counties for jail housing.
Total estimated construction cost of the remodeling is $5.1 million. Of that total cost, nearly $1.3 million is work that will be done in-house, such as the carpentry, electrical wiring and plumbing.
Construction on the Law Enforcement Center will start in January. It is a project that will take approximately 12 to 14 months to complete.
The remodeling project is a short-term, 10-year, fix for the County’s jail needs, but will give Stearns County time and an opportunity to focus on a long-term 30-year solution.