Funds for the proposed addition will come from the current Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).
Clinton Lester, county manager, said some 30 architectural firms have contacted his office for information about the proposed addition.
“We plan to send out a request for qualifications to architects,” he said. “We should be able to narrow the list to four or five, then a decision will be made on the best qualified for the job. Once this is done, a design will be drawn, specs written and bids taken. This should take about six months. Our best guess is that ground will be broken in early fall.”
Commissioner Ray Barber introduced the subject during the February meeting of the Polk County Board of Commissioners.
He said he was “ready to get started” on the project and believes a four-man cell design would save the county money.
To collect information for the decision of a new jail addition, John Southern, Georgia Sheriff’s Association, accompanied Sheriff Bobby Sparks, Chief Deputy Al Sharp, Jail Administrator Michael Sullivan, Lester and a group of commissioners to view construction sites in Carroll County, Heflin, Ala., and Walker County recently.
Sheriff Sparks defined the jail addition as a “fast track project”, but doesn’t expect a decision on what type facility is needed until later this year.
He said recent visits were made to view modular jails being erected in Carroll County and Heflin.
The one in Walker County now houses inmates.
Sharp said the visits were made to view positives and negatives in jails under construction or recently completed. “We looked at pluses and minuses and came away with good ideas,” he said.
One of the things pointed out by Sharp and Commissioner Barber was the need for a “different sallyport design” at the Polk County Jail. Sharp said the sallyport (secured garage) limits space for parking in transporting inmates.
“We hope the new jail will be designed with a drive through sallyport,” he explained.
“This would allow transportation of inmates by bus, which would save time and money.”
Barber said the visits were made to discover things that would make Sheriff Sparks’ job more convenient.
“We want to streamline the facility so that it will make staff more comfortable in a modern work environment,” he said.
Barber said he was impressed with the Heflin facility.
He has proposed another visit be made to this site.
“In that building, there is a shower stall in each cell. There is no locking or unlocking a door for an inmate to take a shower.
“All plumbing can be maintained without any person having to enter a cell where inmates are lodged.
“A modular cell can be placed at greater savings.”