PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - While the dirt was being turned, a new page was also being turned for the future of Jackson County law enforcement. County Supervisor Troy Ross was on site for the groundbreaking of the new Jackson County Jail.
"We're not building a facility that's just going to work for today and barely get us by. We're building a facility that's going to do a lot of things for this county. It's going to make it safer and more efficient," Ross told the crowd.
With the new jail come even loftier expectations, according to Supervisor Melton Harris.
"We hope that once it's constructed, that it will be a deterrent for those criminally minded individuals, and we hope that it will provide a safe confinement site for those who have been engaged in criminal type activity," Harris said.
The new jail may not be in the same ranks as the great pyramids, but Jackson County Chief Sheriff's Deputy Ray Bates believes the facility will withstand the test of time.
"It's monumental in the sense that it will be here for a very long period of time. Most of us will not be alive by the time another jail project of this magnitude has to be undertaken in the county," Bates said.
Sheriff Charles Britt said safety will be a key component at the facility.
"It will be more secure for the officers, the guards, the inmates and for everybody working in the facility. It will be excellent," Britt said.
While the lion's share of the attention about this new jail has been focused on the actual construction and what it means for the inmates and the guards in the future, one other thing this jail means is employment. Bob Nanney with Caddell Construction says the project will create jobs for many local construction workers and subcontractors.
"This is an opportunity to bring people in here. I'm a Mississippi State grad actually so it's good to see people coming in and jobs for the county and the surrounding area here. Probably 150 people will be hired at peak construction and a lot of local subcontractors will be used," Nanney said.
Not to mention a lot more security as well.
Here are some quick facts about the new jail. Supervisors decided to borrow the money to build it after a bond issue was voted down. It will be 104,000 square feet in size, with 752 beds. It can be expanded to hold another 60 beds.
It will be built with modular metal, able to withstand winds of up to 150 mph, which means inmates won't have to be evacuated in the event of a hurricane.
The jail is expected to be complete by the summer of 2015.