By Rachel Leber
WINCHESTER, Tenn. — Construction began during the last week of October on the Franklin County Jail expansion project in Winchester, with work on a perimeter fence as the first priority.
Members of the Oliver Little Gipson Engineering Corp. firm, based out of Tullahoma, Tenn., presented its architectural jail expansion plan for the facility’s structure to the County Corrections Partnership committee in July. The plan included detailed electrical, plumbing, utility, safety features, and individual, adjoining cells and dormitory-style inmate housing facilities.
The jail expansion plans and blueprints passed the required fire code and state requirements, which made way for the bid process to begin on Oct. 22., according to Tim Fuller, sheriff of Franklin County in a recent interview with the Herald Chronicle. The project has an estimated budget of $9 million, which the county’s budget has already accommodated.
The existing jail was originally constructed in 1997 and was built to house 114 inmates. It was determined in 2008 by a state inspection that overcrowding was an issue and that updates on the facility were needed to avoid the county being penalized. At the time of the inspection, Fuller, his staff and county officials quickly made plans to expand the jail. However, much time was needed to formulate the plan due to a number of legal administrative and safety requirements and other challenges, hence the delay from 2008 until the commencement of construction last week.
Additionally, the final bond for the original county jail was paid off in March, which 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 new jail will accommodate 283 inmates once the expansion project on the facility is complete.