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County jail expansion project begins this week

Posted on Sunday, October 22, 2017 at 8:41 am

Franklin County Sheriff Tim Fuller watches as Jail Administrator Scotty McKay points out details on the OLG Engineering architectural drawing/rendering of the proposed jail expansion project to County Corrections Partnership Committee members Eddie Clark (left, standing), Barbara Finney, Angie Fuller, Dale Shultz, Chuck Stines, Don Cofer and Doug Goodman at the County Courthouse conference room in June 2016. The project is now heading toward a brick and mortar phase.

—File photo


Philip J. Lorenz III

When the County Corrections Partnership committee met recently, Franklin County Sheriff Tim Fuller and Jail Administrator Scott McKay had good news to share — a jail expansion is about to enter its brick and mortar phase.

Fuller said bids for building contractors went out Friday, and  construction on the jail expansion project is to begin this week, probably starting with work on a perimeter fence.

The project will cost an estimated $9 million, already allotted for in the county’s budget.

The jail was constructed in 1997, and in 2008 the state stepped in with an inspection revealing the facility was overcrowded and needed updating to avoid the county being penalized. Fuller, his staff and county officials quickly stepped up with viable plans to expand the jail, but everyone acknowledged it would take time to formulate the plan due to a number of legal administrative and safety requirements and other challenges.

“(In 2008), that’s when we were put under a plan of action (requirement) for overcrowding (by the Tennessee Corrections Institute),” Fuller said.

Once the final bond for the original county jail was paid off in March, it opened the door to fund the expansion project and hire a construction manager before putting out bids for companies to begin the facility’s expansion.

The jail, which was constructed to house 114 inmates, will accommodate 283 inmates once the expansion project on the facility is completed.

Members of the Oliver Little Gipson Engineering Corp. firm, based in Tullahoma, presented their architectural jail expansion plan for the facility’s entire structure to the County Corrections Partnership committee in July. The county jail expansion plan included detailed electrical, plumbing, utility, safety features, and individual, adjoining cells and dormitory-style inmate housing facilities.

Fuller said the jail expansion plans and blueprints have passed required fire code and state requirements, paving the way for the bid process to begin.