Move Made In Part
To Get Certification
Back After State
Acted On Crowding
BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
Continuing to wrestle with the issue of jail overcrowding, the Greene County Commission voted Monday night to have Greeneville architect Dave Wright review two lease-to-own proposals for a new jail that have been presented to the county by design-build-finance teams.
The commission will then call on Wright to report his analysis and possible recommendation in June.
The vote was 17-3, with commissioners Tim White, Robin Quillen and Jan Kiker opposed.
This action came in response to word from Sheriff Steve Burns that, although the Tennessee Corrections Institute (TCI) has inspected the jail and is considering recertifying the facility for 2013, officials have "hinted" that the commission needs to make a vote to tie an architect to the project.
TCI pulled the center's certification in 2012, largely as a result of the overcrowding. This, TCI cautioned, can result in significantly increased liability for the county.
Burns emphasized that this is not the commission making a final financing decision or jumping into a project, but rather taking one more step forward.
Such steps have, in the past, kept other county jails certified for up to four or five years before construction ever began on a new facility, Burns reported.
"We've got to get our certification back," Commissioner Jimmy Sams said. "To regain our certification, I think we've got to update our Plan of Action, like the sheriff said."
Wright confirmed that he can do this work at no additional cost to the county from what he was paid and contracted for in 2008, when the county was last facing overcrowding issues and considering building a new facility.
He promised to do his "due diligence" in asking questions and weighing the positives and negatives of each proposal.
"We cannot send the sheriff down to Nashville with his hat in hand," Commissioner Bill Dabbs said of the TCI Board of Control's June meeting to consider Greene County's certification.
The commission originally planned to hear three proposals, but Hodge Associates and Moseley Architects, of the first proposal, chose in the end to team with the company leading the third proposal, J.A. Street & Associates.
President Jim Street presented this new proposal before the commission during a workshop on Monday.
These companies, teamed with Appalachia Design Services and BB&T Capital Markets, would begin with a design already in use in another county to "fast track" the project, according to Dan Mace, vice president of Moseley Architects.
The team presented three proposals on Monday:
* renovation of a portion of the former Magnavox plant, at 1915 Snapps Ferry Road and zoned M-1, industrial, with 22.2 acres and 533 parking spaces.
This site would offer a total of 400 inmate beds for a total cost of $54.8 million.
This total cost includes $14 million for the lease-to-own option presented by the building's owner and $40.8 million for the renovations.
Lease rates would range from $3.8 million per year to $3.2 million per year, depending on the term of the lease.
* renovation of the former Circuit Systems plant, at 1515 Industrial Road and zoned M-1, industrial, with 10.3 acres on site and two acres of city property for 477 parking spaces.
This site would offer a total of 458 inmate beds for a total cost of $37.5 million.
This total cost includes $1.3 million for the purchase of the building and land and $36.3 million for the renovation.
Lease rates would range from $2.6 million per year to $2.2 million per year, depending on the term of the lease.
* building an entirely new building on the Hartman property located at Hal Henard Road and West Andrew Johnson Highway and zoned A-1, general agriculture, with 55 acres and 397 parking spaces.
This site would offer a total of 458 beds for a total cost of $41.8 million.
This total cost includes $1 million for the purchase of the land and $40.8 million for construction of the building.
Lease rates would range from $2.9 million per year to $2.5 million per year, depending on the term of the lease.
All sites would have options for future expansion, with the Circuit Systems site being the least expandable, Mace said.