Walker County hopes to finalize the purchase of a tract of land for its new jail in the next few weeks.
The county is in the process of buying 12.6 acres from the state on FM 2821 between the Wynne Mobile Home Park and the Walker County Adult Probation Office near the current jail and sheriff’s office. The county and state have agreed upon the price of $12,500 per acre, which comes to a total of $157,500.
Capt. Steve Fisher, Walker County’s jail administrator, said Wednesday that the land has been surveyed and the county and state are close to wrapping up the negotiations of purchase.
“My understanding is that the county and state have both accepted the deal,” Fisher said. “It is in the final stages of drawing up the deed, and once that goes through, the county will own the land, and we can continue to move forward with the plans for the new jail facility.”
Once the county is able to acquire the land, there will still be more surveys to conduct and soil samples taken to design the foundation. Burns Architecture is also finalizing the building plans. Fisher said construction on the facility is still on schedule to begin in the fall.
A committee has been formed to review proposals from prospective construction companies vying to build the new facility. The committee will begin sorting through and evaluating the proposals this week and will make a recommendation to the commissioners court in July as to which company should be hired for the job.
“It will take a little time for the committee to review the proposals,” Fisher said. “They will have to conduct interviews, then send their recommendation of who to hire to the court. We are still hoping to break ground in the fall.”
The cost to construct the new jail is estimated at around $18 million. Back in April, the commissioners court voted unanimously to issue $20 million in certificates of obligation to cover the cost of purchasing the land and any unforeseen soft costs that might occur during the entire process.