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Jail renovation update on track

Posted: March 19, 2017 - 1:46am
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Crews look over plans for Phase II of the jail renovations at the former Grovetown jail. The building was constructed in 1994 and has not been updated or renovated since its construction.
Crews look over plans for Phase II of the jail renovations at the former Grovetown jail. The building was constructed in 1994 and has not been updated or renovated since its construction.

Phase two of transformation efforts to convert Grovetown's former jailhouse to new administrative offices are underway and on track.

Department of Public Safety Chief Scott Wheatley said that the project should only take about three to four months max since the start date of phase II back in February.

Aside from cosmetic touches including new carpet and paint, the front half of the building is nearly complete with painting expected to begin soon, Wheatley said.

However the back half of the building that was designed as a jail when it was built in 1994, had some structural surprises that caused minor delays. According to Wheatley, several walls that were planned to be knocked down were found to be load bearing walls, so changes to the original renovation were updated to reflect the walls that could not be removed.

Upon completion of Phase II, the new renovations will create an evidence room equipped with evidence lockers similar to crime labs with limited access and cameras. A new interview room with recording equipment will also be added along with a small gym for officers and firefigthers.

Renovations will also convert the old cellblocks into office space for Wheatley and other staff members including the Criminal Investgiation Division. In addition, Wheatley said locks will be converted to card access.

"There will no longer be key access to any door," Wheatley said. "We will have card access that way if somebody quits or we need to take their card from them we can go in the system and deactivate that card."

Fenced outdoor recreation yards have been converted to a smoking area for employees on one side and an awning for covering equipment in what was once the recreation yard for male inmates.

Phase one of the project has been completed, except for the delivery of a new generator.

A new natural gas generator is expected to be installed soon, which is a switch from a diesel generator. Wheatley said the installation of the generator will cause power to be turned off to the entire building.

In addition, renovation of the dispatch area to include new paint and carpet installation will cause a temporary move of dispatch operators, though no date for when that move will happen has been announced.

Wheatley said that while the area is under renovation, the dispatch unit will be temporarily relocated to 5555 Harlem Grovetown Road at Fire station No. 2.

Many other new features are planned for the newly renovated building, according to Wheatley.

"When it's all over and done, all of your police staff will be in this building," Wheatley said of the renovated jail. "Both lietenants and myself, the CID guys, community relations guy, records is coming up here and dispatch will be here. Everyone will be in one building."

A ribbon cutting event for the public is expected at the completion for the renovations.

"Once we are up and running I would like to bring the council and invite the citizens to see what their money went towards," Wheatley said, though no official plans have yet been announced.

 

 

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