FARMINGTON -- The weather cooperated as a crowd gathered to officially open the Davis County Jail addition. The 400-bed expansion was officially unveiled by county commissioners, Sheriff Bud Cox and other county officials, as well as the contractor, architect, and Davis Chamber of Commerce Lakesiders. The Lakesiders conducted a ribbon cutting.
"It's gratifying to have that project completed, and have it turn out so very, very well," said County Commissioner Dannie McConkie.
A comment made by several speakers was the ability for the architect, contractor and jail staff to work together without major problems on such a big project.
"In the beginning, there were some who thought this would be difficult. We're going to hate each other," McConkie said.
"All three of those departments commented that they're good friends. We come together, solve the problems," he said. "We hit a lot of home runs, and when there was a foul ball, we caucused and solved it. That is the sign of a good project."
Layton Construction was general contractor and EDA Architects designed the 112,000 square-foot facility. Both Salt Lake area firms worked together on construction of the original jail in 1991.
In addition to turning earth for new construction, there was some demolition and remodeling. For example, the inmate booking area had to be reconfigured and reconstructed, and new, expanded kitchen and laundry facilities built.
The expanded jail was needed because of overcrowding. Designed as a 192-bed facility, the jail often was housing more than 500 inmates on weekends. "Triple" bunking was employed, at times, to meet housing needs.
Sheriff Bud Cox and others had said the county could face federal sanctions if more space wasn't provided. That would've meant far less input and control by the county into what sort of jail addition was built.
The expansion had been urged several years earlier, but was put off after the huge outcry against a proposed 138 percent tax increase -- which wouild've included jail funds.
This go-around, a jail committee, which included a variety of members, studied the issue for nearly a year. It strongly endorsed the need for the jail expansion.
The $24.8 million cost of the facility was approved by voters as part of a bond referendum. Property taxes will increase an average of $35 a year for the owner of a $171,000 home. Those funds have been earmarked for maintenance and operation (including staffing) of the expanded jail.
"We worked to bring this project in on time, and within the budget," McConkie said. "That's in light of having accelerating costs for materials. Crude oil drove things crazy."
Jails are a mandated part of county government, he continued. "There's a lot of natural light in that facility. It's a facility built to a standard than was the case 20 years ago."
He called the kitchen "big and marvelous. It will care for 1,000 inmates easily."
During construction, the existing detention facility and 911 emergency dispatch center remained fully operational even while other areas were being demolished and remodeled.
It included 32,427 feet of pipe and 3,613 fittings which roughly equates to 9,300 different connection points installed. About 400 tons of rebar were used, or 50,000 lateral feet, while 98 tons of structural steel joists were used.
And if you think your laundry loads are bad, the jail's laundry can handle 12,874 loads a year, or nearly a million pounds of laundry per year.