The first public meeting for residents of Osage County regarding the Sheriff’s Office’s plans to construct a new headquarters and jail was held Wednesday evening in Osage City.
The meeting offered more information into the office’s plans as they’re looking to construct a new facility to replace its current headquarters in Lyndon. The proposed update would bring a new jail, Sheriff’s Office, emergency management, emergency operations center and a possible EMS ambulance bat. There were originally two options for the project, the first being an expansion to 70 beds that would cost $15 million and would be funded with a half-cent sales tax.
The second option, which the Sheriff’s Office is planning to pursue following a unanimous decision by a community advisory board, is to construct a 144-bed facility at a cost of $18 million to be funded by revenue generated through holding inmates for other agencies.
Architect Lawrence Goldberg of Goldberg Group Architects (GGA) says the new facility will drastically increase efficiency for the Sheriff’s Office.
Goldberg says the added bed space will include 12 specifically designed to accommodate inmates suffering from mental illness.
Wells says the new facility is desperately needed as the current facilities are quickly deteriorating.
According to Osage County Undersheriff Scott Brenner, if the county chooses to move forward with the 144-bed option, a potential partnership that is in early development with a federal agency could help supply the funding they need for the project.
County residents will ultimately have the final say on the project later this year as Wells says they are planning to place the item on the general election ballot in November. Community input meetings will continue throughout the county over the next month.
Wells says tentative plans are to hold another meeting next week, however, a date, time and location have yet to be determined.
If the project is approved, Goldberg says it will likely go out to bid by late December or early 2022. Goldberg anticipates the project will take anywhere from 14 to 15 months to complete following the initial groundbreaking.