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Hall County: $54 million jail completed

Facility holds 1,000-plus; opens soon

POSTED: October 27, 2007 5:05 a.m.
Chairman of the Hall County Board of Commissioners Tom Oliver presented Hall County Sheriff Steve Cronic with a key to a new $54 million jail facility Monday, and joked that it might be the most expensive key ever made.

The new jail, with the ability to house more than 1,000 inmates, was completed one month ahead of schedule and under budget, Cronic said.

"We will be returning close to a million dollars back to the county," Cronic said.

Hall County Commissioner Steve Gailey said the detention facility was the largest project the county had undertaken.

The jail was paid for with funds from the Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax.

"Thank the voters, because without the voters this wouldn’t have happened," Gailey said.

The new jail is located on 50 acres of property on Barber Road, and will relieve the overcrowded detention center in midtown Gainesville.

Instead of boarding inmates in other counties’ facilities, Hall County will have the option of making money housing inmates from other counties.

Hall County Sheriff’s Deputies gave local officials tours of the new jail, showing them some of the upgrades from the old facility.

The new Hall County Jail has a medical center where inmates can receive routine medical treatment or visit a dentist or mental health specialist.

The new jail also has an ramped-up security system.

"There are no blind spots in this whole jail as far as cameras go," said Robert Lachner, senior officer on shift at the jail.

After the security systems are tested, the jail will open in two weeks.

"Hopefully we have instilled some confidence in the public in our abilities to manage your money," Commissioner Billy Powell said. "I think we have done everything we could have done."

At the jail’s opening ceremony, the Rev. L.C. Teasley asked that God make the facility not just a container but also a mind changer.

And Cronic praised the efforts of all who were involved in the jail’s planning.

He said county officials had been planning the jail for seven years.

"We’re blessed here in Hall County that we have a county commission that serves the department," Cronic said.

"There could be no better example than this facility here," he said.



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