That's why a group of five Davis County officials visited Tacoma, Wash., recently. The group scrutinized a federal Immigration & Naturalization Service prison to see the construction process used.
Pre-cast concrete jails are one option county officials have been eyeing. Their project architect, Edwards & Daniels (E&D) Architects of Salt Lake City, has recently completed jails in Sweetwater County, Wyo., Summit County outside of Park City, and Wasatch County, near Heber City. It also designed the existing Davis County Jail.
The Tacoma jail uses steel-shell walls with a concrete core.
"We knew we could save money by utilizing those cells, the question was how much," said E&D's John Shuttleworth. "That (cost) still really needs to be determined.
"By and large, I think it was determined to be a satisfactory approach," but there are other issues that both he and Kevin McLeod, Sheriff's Chief Deputy raised.
"There are seams that have to be spot welded" and spaces that have to be glued shut -- essentially gaps that could pose problems over time, he said.
"If you leave a seam crack an inmate will dig it out. That's probably our only concern," he said, saying the building has a "slick, tidy finish."
"There are joints in the steel cells which do create a potential for ultimate degradation over time, plus some maintenance issues" over the long term, that could pose a problem, Shuttleworth said.
"The pre-cast concrete cells kind've have a seamless surface in the cells, no real joints," he said.
"We saw some finished areas that were a little rough," McLeod said of the Tacoma jail.
The five went there to look at such issues as noise levels, impact of voices, pounding on walls, even "excessive echoing," impact -- issues that can occur in a jail setting.
"What they (Tacoma officials) told us is the actual material cost is slightly higher than pre-cast," but the steel method probably could be completed more quickly, McLeod said.
"We don't want only one option. We want to build it as fast as possible," he said. "We're aware these are taxpayer dollars paying for it. We want to have something that is the most efficient in cost and operations."
Expansion of the Davis County jail was recommended by a citizens study committee that met for nearly a year. Its recommendation was made last summer.
On Nov. 2, voters approved selling of up to $24.8 million in bonds for the project, which will essentially double the size of the existing jail, including larger kitchen and laundry facilities.
No additional tax dollars are envisioned for the jail, which should see an early summer construction start, with completion anticipated by late 2006. Bonding charges should "roll over" from the bond for the existing jail, to the new bond.
However, an estimated $35 a year average tax will have to be levied, possibly for the 2006 calendar/fiscal year for operations.
It will pay for maintenance and operations of the new facility, including additional staff. email@example.com