JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A piece of Jackson County Law enforcement history will soon have a meeting with the wrecking ball.
County supervisors will be opening bids to demolish the old Jackson County Jail, which was built in 1979. The old jail was plagued with overcrowding problems, sometimes housing as many as 500 inmates in a facility design to hold 250.
At one point, modular buildings had to be brought onto the property.
"Going back to the old days, the jail was smaller than what was needed and there were constant changes being made on it," said County Supervisor Melton Harris. "But never to the point that it was able to accommodate the number of inmates and making sure they were going to be safe, as well as the guards."
The overcrowding problem was solved two years ago with the opening of the new $30 million adult detention facility. The new jail can handle more than 750 inmates in a much more controlled environment.
The cost of the demolition is expected to be between $100,000 - $150,000. The actual bid should be awarded by the end of October with demolition starting shortly thereafter.
"There are parts of that that are 10 or so years old that we're going to be able to utilize for various things within the sheriff's office. This is going to be a good thing for Jackson County," said Sheriff Mike Ezell.
County officials say one of the reasons the demolition job will cost so much is because the old jail was built mostly of concrete and steel; making it hard to take down.
"It is built very strong. It was built out of a lot of concrete and large diameter steel rods inside the concrete for re-enforcement and so it's going to be a task to take it down," said County Administrator Brian Fulton. "That's why the cost will be what we think it will be."
Some supervisors even say there's a possibility a good portion of the property could be sold to private developers to bring it back on the tax rolls. A couple of the newer buildings on the property will remain and be used for storage space by the sheriff's department.