Joint city-county body accepts $58.4M contract for Woodbury County Law Enforcement Center | Local news

Bizar Male

The new single-story structure will be built on a 38-acre plot of land in the vicinity near 28th Street, just north of the Lake Forest Mobile Home Community.

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Architects earlier estimated the general contract phase of the project at $43 million. County officials have blamed the increase on rising cost of construction materials tied the disruption of supply chains during the pandemic.

In addition to the general contract awarded Tuesday, the Authority previously had approved contracts totaling over $20 million for site work and soil settlement monitoring, pre-fabricated jail cells and the project manager and architect.

A number of citizens, including local contractors and union leaders, had urged the Authority to reject the two general contractor bids on hold in hopes the costs would fall by the time it was rebid.

But the Authority board and top law enforcement officials voiced support to move ahead with the project, fearing a further delay would result in even higher construction costs while also increasing the price of maintaining the current jail, which has been plagued by overcrowding and physical deficiencies, particularly in the heating and cooling systems.

Officials had warned that a sudden failure of one of the 34-year-old jail’s mechanical systems could be catastrophic, leading to an evacuation and a costly process of moving the inmates elsewhere. Repairs were estimated at more than $22 million.

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