County Facilities: Actual Recommendations And Conceptual Design Plan

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I have been asked for the exact Criminal Justice Center recommendations that the Gila County Facilities Planning Citizens Advisory Committee referred to under their Consensus Agreement #8 as Option #1.

Please understand that accepted recommendations do not mean they are "locked in stone."

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Tommie Martin

At the conclusion of this article, I am inviting you to a Conceptual Design Preview.

I hope you'll drop by for a cup of coffee, a cookie and a look at what the proposed concept is. We can visit more about all of this then.

On to the recommendations. Let me preface them with a reminder to all of us that starting with the very first meeting on Jan. 18, the committee members participated in intense, information gathering and synthesizing meetings with the sheriff, the judges (Superior and Justice), the clerk of the court and the county attorney.

It is their current and 20-year estimated court and jail needs that are being addressed by this committee's recommendations.

Along with the facilities, the committee also recommended "financing methods for these projects include a "jail district" funded by a 1/2 cent sales tax for the detention facilities, and a "general obligation bond" for the judicial and administrative facilities. Both methods would require voter approval." (The "whys and wherefores" of this recommendation will be my next article.)

The Committee recommended proceeding with two projects and the requisite improvements to accommodate growth in Gila County to the year 2027; the Criminal Justice Center in Payson and the Criminal Justice Center in Globe. Each of these would provide the following improvements and facilities:

"Payson: Jail Facility: It was unanimously agreed upon that the jail in Payson is wholly inadequate and must be replaced. The committee recommends building a new jail facility and new operations area for sheriff's staff, located on the existing site, with some land acquisition.

The total estimated cost, including 48 new cells, new jail operations level, demolition and disposal of existing non-jail and jail buildings, site preparation and parking, and the requisite site acquisition, is under $11.3 million.

Judicial/Administrative Facility: It was agreed that the new criminal justice facility in Payson would involve the following: one new courtroom each for the superior and justice of the peace, judges' chambers, jury assembly area, hearing rooms, hearing officer's chambers, and trial jury suites; expanded court support staff space (i.e. clerk of the court); new sheriff's administration office; county attorney and child support office; probation office and constable located with new jail; all on the existing site.

The total estimated cost, including site acquisition, site preparation and parking, and construction of the new complex, is under $6.5 million.

Globe: Jail Facility: The committee recommends building 48 new cells at the current jail facility, with the operations area for sheriff's staff being remodeled.

The total estimated cost, including new jail tower construction, remodel of existing operations area, remodel of existing inmate area, demolition and disposal, upgrade of existing utilities and services, and excavation and building of 10' high retaining wall, is under $5.9 million.

Judicial/Administrative Facility: The recommendation includes building two new superior courtrooms and one new justice of the peace courtroom, judges' chambers, jury assembly area, trial jury suites, hearing officer's chambers and grand jury suite; expanded space for the clerk of the court's office; and new sheriff's administration office.

The county attorney, child support and constable would occupy the first floor of the old courthouse; probation would remain in its existing location. The total estimated cost, including site preparation and parking, and construction of the new complex is $7.75 million."

If you would like more information, the Board of Supervisors is placing copies of the Committees' full proceedings at each of the county's eight public libraries for your perusal (Pine, Payson, Young, Tonto Basin, Globe, Miami, Hayden, and San Carlos).

In the Payson area, I will also have extras at my office and at the county maintenance yard in Star Valley that you can sign for and take home to study. If you need additional help, my office number is 474-7100.

Now about that preview I promised.

In order to visualize and understand how these recommendations will "play out on the land," the board contracted with e + i Architects for a Conceptual Design Plan for the Payson and Globe Criminal Justice Centers.

The plan is intended to show the possibilities and the potential of what can be, and there will be a very extensive input process when the bond issues pass and the design/construction team is selected, to allow every interested individual an opportunity to express their thoughts on the final design.

We are expecting the Conceptual Design Plan to be presented to the Board of Supervisors at our Tuesday, Aug. 7 Board Meeting in Globe.

I will then be bringing the Plan with visuals to Payson for a debut on Wednesday, Aug. 8.

Please join me at the old courtroom, behind the Gila County Sheriff's Office, 108 W. Main, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

I hope to see you there!

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