Final design meeting held for Henry County's new jail

Design expected to be put up for bid this fall

HENRY COUNTY, Va. – Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry and four of his deputies spent several hours Wednesday around a conference table with architects looking over blueprints for the county's new jail.

They discussed a number of issues, including the jail intake area and the jail control room.

Perry said he's excited about the opportunities the new jail will provide for the inmates.

"We've said many times we want to be able to have more interaction with them, where we can have life skills classes, help them with their GED, have people come in and talk to them about better life choices," Perry explained.

The jail is currently expected to be completed sometime in 2021 and cost $70 million.

Deputy Henry County Administrator Dale Wagoner, who was part of Wednesday's design meeting, said the price tag isn't set in stone though.

"Until we put this out for bid and see what the construction market is, it's hard to predict where that will be. But we're going to try our best to keep it under the $70 million," Wagoner said.

The state will cover up to 25 percent of the cost.

Funding for the rest of the cost is still being worked out.

"We're going to seek financing for that, either through bonds or through the Virginia Resource Authority, but we're pursuing those options now and we'll have a recommendation within a couple months," Wagoner said.

A new jail is being built because the current jail is severely overcrowded.

When the current fiscal year ends on Saturday, Wagoner estimates the county will have spent about $950,000 during the fiscal year to house inmates at other jails.

"There's no doubt in our mind that this will be a safer design, much easier to work with," Perry said about the new jail. "Even though you have to look at a cost to get to this point, the community will be served better (by the new jail.)"

"It's been a lot of work, but it's moving forward," Wagoner said about the design process.

A computer generated 3D rendering of the design will be created to help the sheriff's office and county officials fully understand the design and then the design will be reviewed by engineers.

The sheriff's office, the architects and county officials will make any changes they feel necessary based on feedback from the engineers and then put the design up for bid later this year.

Wagoner said he expects a construction contract for the jail to be awarded early next year.

About the Author: