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Hall picks architect for new correctional institute

POSTED: January 10, 2014 12:15 a.m.

Plans to build a new Hall County Correctional Institute are moving forward after county commissioners unanimously approved the architectural contract at Thursday’s meeting.

Commissioners awarded the $248,000 contract to IPG Inc., an architecture and planning firm out of Valdosta, for the design phase of a new correctional institute, to be built next door to the existing building.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to build a very efficient project for the taxpayers of Hall County,” Warden Walt Davis told the Hall County Board of Commissioners.

Commissioner Billy Powell introduced the motion to take the project back off the table after informative discussion with Davis, he said.

Davis’ testament to state support of the project seemed to impress commissioners, who previously decided to hold off voting on the contract to explore other design options.

“I have an inventoried list of items that the state Department of Corrections is giving us, that fit directly within the design that we’re using,” Davis said. “I have a $100,000 cooler and a $100,000 freezer that are going to go into that design ... that will certainly offset our costs.”

The DOC has also pledged to lend its mobile construction crews, Davis said, which provide free inmate labor to the state.

The commission had explored using the old Hall County Jail, which seemed as a ready possibility after the Corrections Corp. of America announced its plans to move dwindling detention operations in early December. CCA had said the facility would be closed by the end of 2013.

A study of the building at 622 Main St. showed “significant renovations would be necessary and that we would need just one part of the building,” in an area now occupied by Hall County Sheriff’s Office administration, Davis said.

Also problematic, Davis said, was a lack of “programming space,” which would be necessary to house a re-entry program planned to begin in March.

The Hall County Re-entry Accountability Court Transition program is intended to help qualified inmates transition back into the community with educational and vocational training. The goal is to reduce recidivism rates, and would play a large role in the development of a new building.

The correctional institute at 1694 Barber Road has housed state prisoners since 1963.

Davis has said the building is too old, with too many code violations, for renovations.

The commission also approved Powell’s motion that he and Commissioner Scott Gibbs represent the commission on an oversight committee to monitor the project’s progress.


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