The Logan County Quorum Court’s Jail Committee unanimously approved revised plans for a new 100-bed county jail on South Lowder Road in Paris last week.
The move clears the way for construction managers to begin preparing bid packages and then soliciting bids for the project.
“The bid packages will take between two and three weeks to prepare,” Logan County Judge Ray Gack said last week. “Meanwhile, the plans have been sent to the State Fire Marshal and to the Arkansas Department of Health for approval. Once we get all that done, we’ll advertise for bids with a deadline of four weeks.”
Gack said a date will be set for a bid opening once the bid packages are completed.
“If everything goes right, we might be able to start construction in November,” Gack said.
That would be the second bid opening on the project this year. Bids were initially opened this summer and came in at $13.6 million, more than the county has to spend on the project and more than the $10 million Gack is hoping to spend.
Last year, voters in the county overwhelmingly approved a one percent hike in sales taxes to build and operate and maintain the new jail. Last November, $10 million in bonds were sold backed by the tax. In the election, voters authorized issuing up to $13 million in bonds.
When the initial bids came in high, the county asked for a revision of plans in an attempt to lower the cost. For example, the initial proposal was to build a two-story jail. That has been revised to a one-story jail.
“I’m hoping this time, the bids come in cheaper,” Gacks said.
Of course, all of this has caused a delay in construction. Preparation work at the South Lowder Street site in Paris has been finished but initially Gack was hoping the facility would be under construction by now.
“I wanted to be under construction by now,” Gack said. “Hopefully, we can begin construction sometime in November. At least that’s what I’m hoping if everything goes right.”
The new jail will replace the existing jail located in Paris. The existing jail, built in the 1980s, has been repeated cited for violations of jail standards.