New jail annex on Grace Church Road ahead of schedule

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 19, 2011

By Nathan Hardin
SALISBURY — Construction crews are making good progress on Rowan County’s new jail annex on Grace Church Road, putting up walls and curbing.
The annex will provide overcrowding relief for a jail that at times can have almost 100 more inmates than beds.
Kevin Smith of Summit Developers said the construction is ahead of schedule.
Summit Developers, a Salisbury company, was awarded a $4.7 million contract for the jail annex in October 2010.
Smith said crews are working to bring in gravel to help construction vehicles enter and exit the construction zone during the winter months.
Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten said the annex will provide an additional 160 beds for inmates. Rowan County Detention Center inmates that do not have beds often sleep on mattresses on the floor.
Auten said he’s looking forward to the annex’s completion, but deputies will have to undergo some training to adjust to the second facility.
“It’ll relieve overcrowding and having inmates housed in another county,” Auten said. “We’ve never operated two facilities.”
The Rowan County Detention Center has 208 beds, but averages about 260 inmates, Auten said. As of Thursday afternoon, the jail housed 280. The Sheriff’s Office also keeps 25 inmates as a facility in Montgomery County.
“We’ve been as high as 300,” he said. “We run about 260 most of the time.”
Auten said the jail’s construction is moving quickly and expects it to be completed in early May.
Summit Developers took over the construction after D.H. Griffin Construction withdrew its bid last October. The company told county officials that a mathematical mistake led to a bid almost $900,000 less than their intended bid. The County was set to award a nearly $4.8 million contract at a meeting the night of the withdrawal.
Auten said the jail annex is necessary because of the increase in inmates over the years.
According to Auten, the detention center had 27 inmates on Christmas Day in 1987. On Christmas Day in 2007, the jail had 302.