Greene County is getting closer to a bigger jail

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-Greene County is one step closer to having a bigger jail.

Greene County Judge Jerry Shipman traveled to Little Rock on Wednesday to meet with the State Jail Review Board.

There, the board gave the "green light" to their architect's plan to expand the jail.

As a result, they opened up bids on Thursday for the steel cells that will go into the jail.

Greene County Jail Project Manager Dave Tierney says they're thrilled to see things beginning to happen.

"People drive by and they don't think there's any progress being made because they don't see concrete and steel going up," Tierney said. "But there's a lot going on behind the scenes. Today, we're accepting bids and opening bids for our modular steel detention cells. Which is very exciting. It's the first step, it's the first progress people will actually see when the cells start rolling in here."

Tierney says the bid packages went out around three weeks ago.

Interested parties received those packages and then presented sealed bids.

"Bids have been arriving all day by federal express," Tierney said. "We're real excited to get them open and see where we stand."

According to Steve Davis with HMN Architects, once a modular steel cell is selected things will continue to move forward.

"Once we know what that module is," Davis said. "We will take that and add it to the overall package for the rest of the whole building. We will develop the construction documents then, over the next couple of months for that and hopefully this summer we'll be able to issue the package for the rest of the building that the steel modules will go in."

Tierney says the county has needed this jail due to the overcrowding problems for some time, now.

"It's been a long time coming," Tierney said. "The people of Greene County have needed this for a long time. For fourteen years we've battled this condition we have over here and we're ready to move forward."

Davis says things are beginning to move right along.

"Right now, we're in the design development phase," Davis said. "After the vote was passed, there's basically three phases of documentation, schematic design, design development and construction documents. Which will be what people will actually be bidding on. We'll probably select the steel cell in about 60 days, if not sooner."

Tierney says the general construction packages will probably go out this summer.

He says people can expect to see construction taking place probably in the early fall.

For more information about Greene County, you can log onto their website.

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