Haywood will pay to upgrade jail rather than use more deputies

Haywood County will pay more than it anticipated on state-mandated renovations to its jail annex.

The county will pay $91,314 to the Monroe-based State Building Group for upgrades to the jail annex. Renovations include setting up a secure fence to separate the jail annex from the main jail building, installing a secure door between the inmates and deputies, adding another secure door leading out to the inmate recreation area and laying concrete sidewalk in the recreation area.

Originally, the county set aside $75,000 for the jail annex improvements but will move another $26,000 out of its general fund to pay the difference.

A state inspection had mandated the county improve security at the annex — which houses female inmates — after finding flaws in the aging building. Either the sheriff’s department needed to permanently increase the number of on-duty deputies at the annex or pay for structural security improvements.

The county informally bid out the project in August and received three bids, which all came in way over budget. The lowest bid was $138,360.

Rather than allocate an additional $63,000 to the project, Haywood County officials consulted the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Division of Jail Construction to see if anything could be cut from the plans to decrease the construction price.

A redesign of the renovations left off about 80 percent of the fencing surrounding the inmate recreation area. The enclosed space will remain the same size; however, there will not be a second fence surrounding the recreation area.

Dale Burris, director of Facilities and Maintenance, emphasized that the change would not decrease the security of the building.

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