Dorchester County has awarded the bid and signed the contract to start construction on the new detention center.
The contract was awarded to H.G. Reynolds, an Aiken-based construction firm, during Dorchester County Council’s Aug. 11 meeting.
The final contract was signed last week and the contractor given directions to start work immediately, according to County Administrator Jason Ward.
The new detention center, to be built on property located at 220 Hodge Road in Summerville, will be some 83,400 square feet and will house 350 beds, with enough space to accommodate up to 650, if necessary. It is also designed so that additional pods are fairly easy to add.
“Pods are not cheap, but they’re a lot cheaper to build than another jail,” Sheriff L.C. Knight noted.
The county originally had established an $18 million budget for the project when it issued bonds for the design and construction of the jail. However, when the bids were open in July, they came in higher than the original $18 million approved. After revisiting the figures, including expenses already incurred, bids received, and remaining estimated project costs, county staff estimated the cost to be $23,466,491.
Staff also recommended allocating the additional funds as follows:
• $48,716 in interest earned from the 2012 bond
• $3,951,000 in general obligation bonds
• $1,325,000 in lease purchase agreements
•$23,032 in cash from the Capital Improvement Funds.
During its Aug. 11 meeting, council unanimously passed motions to amend the detention center construction budget to $23,466,491, to authorize the county administrator to begin drafting ordinances and documentation necessary to issue a $4.041 million General Obligation bond and $1.365 million lease purchase agreement, and to award the contract to H.G. Reynolds Company.
Knight said he is pleased the project is moving forward. With the current detention center built to house 150 and the daily census now averaging around 300, the new jail is a necessity, he said.
“I’m excited to see it get started,” Knight said. “It’s something the county needs – we have to be able to handle the growth that’s coming. We’d rather spend the money some other way, but we have to have some place to put them.”
A groundbreaking is tentatively being planned; no date has been determined yet, according to county officials.