Board signs off on plan for jail annex
By Lee Barnes
Although Rowan County still doesn’t have a site for a new jail annex, the county commissioners have instructed architects to move on with the next phase of designing the complex.
Monday night, the commissioners signed off on the basic plan by Moseley Architects of Charlotte. Now comes the detail work.
Rowan voters approved a quarter-cent sales tax increase earlier this month to help pay for the new complex.
The basic plan is to build a 160-bed facility with four dormitory-style housing units instead of individual cells. Dormitory-style jails can dramatically cut building and management costs. The planned annex is specifically designed to be enlarged as needed.
The jail annex will need a site of 6 to 10 acres. The annex itself will take up about 28,000 square feet. And while the county hasn’t chosen a site yet, County Manager Gary Page said the plan will work with any of the sites they’re looking at.
At this point, the county is looking at three county-owned properties:
– Some part of an 84-acre tract at the intersection of Heilig and Faith roads.
– A 10-acre tract off Airport Road on National Guard Road.
– A 25-acre tract on the south side of Julian Road currently used for fairgrounds parking.
A fourth site, privately owned, is in the mix. It’s on the south side of Salisbury, just outside the city limits on Henderson Grove Church Road. The property’s owner has indicated that he’s interested in selling.
All three county-owned sites are within three miles of the Rowan County Detention Center and Rowan County Justice Center in downtown Salisbury. The county has spent about $45,000 so far on plans, with a total architectural and engineering budget of $400,000. The total cost of the annex is $6 billion.
The county needs the annex because the existing jail is full. In fact, Rowan County currently pays $50 per prisoner per day to Sampson County to house its excess prisoners. Last year, the county spent $650,000 for such housing ó at a jail 190 miles away.
As expected, the commissioners Monday said adieu to Sampson in favor of housing its excess prisoners in the Montgomery County jail in Troy, a one-hour drive. The move will save money in reduced personnel costs as well as fuel.