Jackson Co. in search of more jail design submissions

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Jackson County needs more businesses to submit new jail designs to replace the aging facility before the end of the month. Fewer than a handful of people have signed up to pitch an idea since the supervisors voted to revisit the selection process last month.

When Jackson County supervisors voted last year to replace this jail with a traditional brick-and-mortar structure designed by Pryor and Morrow, many thought the Jail saga was finally over.

"There's nothing worse than building something of this size for $35 million are so and find out we have problems," said Supervisor Melton Harris.

Harris said that's why he led the charge to reopen the jail design chapter late last month. He admits he doesn't regret it.

"We have designers to call and complain and talk about the various designs that they have," Harris said.

So far, only two designs have been submitted to replace the jail. With 30 days left in the process, supervisors said, folks could miss out on saving taxpayers more dollars.

"Here is the problem, some think that Jackson County has already decided and it is all figured out, but that is not the case," said Harris about the selection process. "I have an open mind, and I am willing to listen and look at other designs. I hope the other board members are too."

With the clock steadily ticking on this project, Harris wants more design teams to step up soon to help speed up this process.

"There may be designers out there that may find a faster way of building the jail. We may lose a few days here or there, but if we can build a better jail, faster that is taxpayer dollars being saved," Harris said.

Whatever design plan is chosen, Harris is confident it will be much better than the adult detention center the county has now.

"We are probably averaging fewer than 400 inmates per day. Of course, there's the anticipation to build a jail that will last 15 to 20 years," Harris said.

The county will hear all the presentations at end of this month. Anyone interested in submitting a design plan, should call (228)769-3378.

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