Bids opened for new Franklin County prison

June 22, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Bids were opened Tuesday for Franklin County's new prison, but the Board of County Commissioners won't vote on a contract until the proposals have been reviewed by the county's legal and engineering departments.

The commissioners will vote on the bids July 5 at 3:15 p.m.

All of the bids, which were sought in separate general, mechanical, electrical and plumbing contracts, came in well below the $30 million set aside for the new jail.

The money comes from a $39 million bond issue floated last year. The rest of the bond issue earmarks $5 million for farmland preservation and $4 million for improvements to the county's 911 system.


The rest of the $30 million appropriated for the jail includes money for the road and utilities, plus furnishings and equipment, Warden John Wetzel said Tuesday.

The county will build the 135,000-square-foot jail on 20 acres in the Cumberland Valley Business Park. Its design allows for expansion if and when needed.

Wetzel said construction on the 470-bed facility will begin next month with completion in early 2007.

The current jail on Franklin Farms Road opened in 1973 and was designed to house 200 inmates. It currently has an average daily population of 350 inmates, Wetzel said.

The new jail won a design award from the American Institute of Architects, Commissioners President G. Warren Elliott said.

The award was given for the efficiency and its state-of-the-art design, Elliott said.

He said the county has made many attempts to ease overcrowding at the existing jail. The commissioners met with court officials and a citizens advisory committee to come up with a solution.

The result of that effort is the new jail.

"The new jail will be energy efficient and staff friendly," Elliott said.

It also will have room for programs that may help keep inmates from returning to jail, he said.

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