SHARP COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Sharp County Detention Center was held Friday morning.
The ceremony featured many local and state officials, including Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, former U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland, Craighead County Judge Marvin Day, among many others.
Governor Asa Hutchinson was scheduled to appear at the event, but he was not there, leaving a statement praising the work of the county building the center at just under $2 million below budget.
“This expanded facility will provide a safe environment for your inmates and staff,” Gov. Hutchinson said in the statement. “[This] will allow you to serve Sharp County more effectively.”
Originally budgeted at $10.2 million, the $8.4 million jail features 100 beds with state-of-the-art security systems, nursing stations, a commercial kitchen, and sheriff’s offices.
Sheriff Mark Counts says the new jail has been in the works for years.
“It’s like being a kid at Christmas time and opening Christmas presents,” Counts said. “It was a long time coming.”
After facing spacing issues in the current jail, the 100-bed facility was completed. Sheriff Counts tells us that the move over to the new jail will be completed within the next two weeks.
“It wasn’t just one person working hard to get this accomplished,” he said. “They’ve [put] a lot of time and effort into this and so I appreciate it. The citizens of Sharp County [have] something to be proud about.”
The facility was built by Smith-Doyle Contractors, and the project was finished on-time in late December.
“It’s a good day for everybody,” Don Abernathy with Smith-Doyle Contractors said. “It’s a good day for us, it’s a good day for the county, and we just hope the building serves the purpose for the next several decades.”
Rutledge says the new jail will serve Sharp County well.
“We want to make sure that there is ample space to provide for those who have broken the law,” she said. “[We want to] give them the opportunity to rehabilitate or to stay here if they are dangerous, violent criminals.”