Leaders hope to open new Colbert County jail in mid-2024

WAFF's Jasmyn Cornell reporting
Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 10:26 AM CST
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COLBERT Co., Ala. (WAFF) - Colbert County leaders are hoping to break ground on a new jail this year.

Colbert County Administrator Roger Creekmore says it’s past time for a new jail. The county is currently waiting for preliminary drawings of the building from an architect company in Florence called Lambert Ezell Durham; the commission selected the company last year.

Built in 1961, the current jail is outdated and cannot hold enough inmates, said Creekmore. The jail can only hold 60 inmates; however, authorities usually house 90 inmates in the facility.

In 2021, the county purchased buildings from an old TVA complex. It will repurpose the empty buildings for county uses, the new justice center, and a new EMA and 911 edifice.

According to Creekmore, they have established a budget of $18 million to complete this project.

The architect is working on designs for the justice center and the adjoining five-story administrative building that will be a part of the center.

The development of infrastructure on the reservation is important because the new jail will increase the demand for water and wastewater services, according to county leaders.

“The county is in the process of installing a new water main that will run from Hatch Boulevard in Sheffield to the new jail facility. That will service the justice center, our EMA existing folks that are on that old waterline, and the new Bank Independent project being built [in the Shoals],” he said.

WAFF's Jasmyn Cornell reporting

Creekmore says this will be a complex project, but he is glad the county decided to move forward with this. The new jail will hold about 300 inmates.

”We’re not able to house our female inmates within our existing jail structure. We’re having to go outside and contract with the city of Tuscumbia to house our female inmates. The new jail will be able to have a female wing, and we’ll be able to get all of those inmates – all those segregated under the same roof,” said Creekmore.

They are hoping to have preliminary drawings from the architect company by the end of the first quarter of 2023, so they can build and open the jail by mid-2024.

According to Creekmore, county officials anticipate the project will be completed without a tax increase.

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