N.C. Commissioners Ponder Proposal for New Jail

By Lisa Kopochinski

BURGAW, N.C.—Overcrowding at the Pender County Jail in Burgaw has been an issue for many years costing taxpayers thousands of dollars annually to transport inmates to other facilities.

While the need for a new jail has been discussed regularly, the costs were always unknown. According to Pender County documents recently released, it is expected a new jail will cost in the neighborhood of $32 million.

Just last year, an approval to transfer approximately 100 acres from the state to the county for the purpose of building a new jail was confirmed by county commissioners and Governor Roy Cooper. County leaders are now getting a clear vision of what a new jail would encompass.

It was nearly a decade ago that the county had plans drawn up for a new Jail and Law Enforcement Center. Moseley Architects completed the designs in 2011, but cost estimates have been brought up to 2020 standards. The county is looking at nearly $45 million to complete a new jail and law enforcement center.

According to a Pender County Commissioners agenda recently released, the amended estimate for the new Jail is $32.3 million, and $11.6 million for the new Law Enforcement Center. The Law Enforcement Center would provide new spaces for a 911 center, radio tower, a logistics equipment warehouse and more.

According to the county, “The new facility will provide additional services for the Pender County Jail and Law Enforcement Center. The project entails updating the Needs Assessment conducted in October 2011 of the existing Jail Facility to verify current and future number and classification of jail beds for Pender County. This will also verify Sheriff’s space needs from the previous study as well, and to identify future growth.”

The new 65,000 square foot jail would have a total of 226 beds, which includes two 47-bed medium male units; one 44-bed female unit with mixed security; two 24-bed male maximum security units; and two 20-bed minimum custody dormitories.

More details are will be forthcoming by the county commissioners.