Bourbon County Chooses Jail Architect

FORT SCOTT, Kan. — Bourbon County Commissioners voted in January to sign a contract with St. Joseph, Mo.-based Goldberg Group Architects (GGA) PC to provide architectural services for a new jail project in Fort Scott.

The jail, built in 1977, was originally designed to accommodate 27 inmates; however, the average capacity is around 40 inmates. Plus, the aging facility has many issues with the plumbing, fixtures, wiring, cameras, electric gates, security and communication systems, reported Fort Scott Biz.

Commissioners also wrote a resolution asking Kansas legislators to amend Kansas State Statue 12-187 B(2) to include Bourbon County on the list of counties allowed to impose a retail sales tax in order to fund the jail, reported the Fort Scott Tribune. The architect was chosen at the same time of the request in order to help figure the cost of the jail, which would determine how much of a sales tax increase would be needed.

Lawrence Goldberg, president of GGA, has already been working with the county for the past two years, helping lead community forums and explaining the needs for the jail. The architecture firm even created initial drawings and costs for the jail facility. The latest draft proposal includes a 90-bed facility that has room for future expansion if needed. The estimated project cost is about $6.5 million, which is a million dollars less than what originally was discussed, according to the Fort Scott Tribune.

Under the new contract, the firm would provide architectural renderings of what the new facility might look like prior to the election. After the election, and if the issue is passed, the firm would assist with obtaining bids and contractors. Goldberg told the Fort Scott Tribune his firm also would supervise the construction to ensure the building has been properly built, certified to all jail standards. His firm also will work with the jail staff through the training process for new technological features that would be included.

The goal is to get the issue on the April 7 ballot and to start answering the questions that would likely be asked by voters. For instance, the county needs to decide if the sales tax increase would pay for the construction only, or if it would also include operational costs. A possible location for the new jail has also yet to be determined, which is usually a key component for correctional projects.