Tuesday morning, Chief Deputy Kevin McLeod spoke briefly to the county commission focusing remarks on the need for expanded kitchen and laundry facilities at the jail. A two-page press release was also disseminated to media representatives of the four newspapers in attendance.
"Those facilities, built in 1991, were designed to serve 192 inmates,"McLeod said. "Now with double bunking, we've gone to a high of housing 551 inmates. But those two facilities (kitchen, laundry), can't expand."
He noted that 1,650 meals, on average, up to as high as 1,800, are being prepared and served from the kitchen, which was designed to dish out 600 meals. He said space is too small, as well, with 12 inmates and staff working together, making safety a consideration.
"It's too crowded, equipment is breaking down. It's not designed to handle the load. After about 13 years, that's weighing heavy on equipment"in the kitchen, he told commissioners.
Similar problems exist in the laundry, where two washers and dryers handle "a little under a dry ton" of wash per day.
"We had a washer and dryer break down, had to run 24 hours a day to catch up. It cost $6,000 to replace a drum,"McLeod said. In addition, linen storage space is too small for the 1,100 changes twice a week.
Enlarged kitchen/laundry spaces are part of the expansion sought in the $24.8 million general obligation bond issue that voters will have an opportunity to decide Nov. 2.
The current kitchen would be enlarged nearly five times in space, including a storage and loading dock for food and kitchen supplies that is two-thirds the size of the entire kitchen; installation of new, improved kitchen equipment, glass windows in hallways to provide improved visibility of inmate kitchen workers, and construction of secure storage space for food inventory.
Laundry facilities are currently housed in a 550-square-foot room with two institutional washers and dryers. Those facilities would be quadrupled in size to 2,400 square feet, including new washers and dryers. County officials are hosting open houses of the jail for the public, including North Branch Library in Clearfield (Oct. 5), South Branch in Bountiful (Oct. 6), and at the Sheriff's Auditorium in Farmington (Oct. 7), all from 6:30-9 p.m. Group tours can also be arranged by calling 451-4120.
For example, the Sunset mayor and city council toured the jail Tuesday night, accompanied by various county officials.