Commissioners inspect progress on jail, judicial center

Updated: Nov 22, 2021

Workers in a bucket work along roofing on the south side of the Linn County Sheriff's Office and Justice Center building in Mound City. The open area below will be the main entry point to the building. (Photos by Roger Sims, Linn County Journal)

MOUND CITY – Inside the Linn County Sheriff’s Office and Justice Center building, workers wove through what looked like a forest of metal studs near the main courtroom area. Other workers ran metal conduit in several of the chambers. The roof decking appeared complete, but the roof was not, and water from a recent rain stood on concrete floors inside.

Crossing a muddy alley, members of the Linn County Commission and construction supervisors entered the still-open area where main entry doors would eventually be installed on the south side of the building. They had come to take a tour as part of their Oct. 12 meeting.

Warren Moody, project supervisor for general contractor River City Construction guided the commissioners through each section of the building and answered their questions.

Stopping in a room with four of the prefabricated cells, commissioners inspected a single-bed cell where a square concrete patch on the floor was visible. The patch had come to the attention of the commission earlier in the month, and they questioned the strength of the rest of the concrete used in that pour.

Moody had assured them that the fix – removing a 2-inch layer of concrete and replacing it with a repair compound – was a suitable fix and that the patch was stronger than the original pour. The cell will receive an epoxy floor that will hide the repair.

Commissioners Jim Johnson, from left, and Danny McCullough listen as Warren Moody, the project supervisor for River City Construction, answers a question in the jail control room.

As the group made its way to the west side of the building, Moody told them that the prefabricated cells called for in the contract had been installed. Those cells, a mixture of single- and double-bed cells along with some that were compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accounted for 60 of the more than 90 beds that will be in the completed structure.

There will also be dormitory-style rooms for another 32 beds, according to Gary Thompson, Linn County counselor who worked extensively with the contracts before construction began. That will give the jail facility 92 beds when River City turns over the keys to the city early next spring.

If needed, the county could put more prefabricated cell units totaling 36 beds at in the future. Those beds would replace the dormitory rooms and give the jail a total of 96 beds.

County officials inspect a bank of prefabricated cells. A deck and stairwell will be added for access to the second-story cells.

Moody said that to install the additional cells, a portion of the roof would need to be removed, the cells would be lowered in by crane, and the roof repaired.

The project supervisor walked commissioners through the control room and kitchen areas of the jail as well as through the area where a library will be. In the portion of the building that will be used by the sheriff’s office and central dispatch, Moody talked about the bullet-resistant panels that were put in place in the lobby area on the east side of the building.

The building is expected to be operational as soon as this coming March if construction continues at the current pace, Moody said.Once the roof and exterior walls are completed, interior work can continue even in inclement weather.

Moody said that some of the outdoor landscaping work may go beyond the estimated March completion date, but he expects the sheriff’s office and jail along with the court offices could move in soon after that date.

Still to be decided is when the offices in the courthouse annex will be moved. Those offices include public works office, planning and zoning and economic development departments as well as the commissioners’ meeting room.

According to the plans for the center, the area where the annex sits will be part of the parking lot for the new building, and the contractor is anxious to pave that area before winter sets in.

At right, a prefabricated, single-bed cell is compact and comes self-contain with a bed shelf, from left, a toilet/sink combination and a shower. The light square on the floor is where workers repaired an area of concrete that did not meet specification.

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