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Study suggests $21 million
county jail expansion
Adding 315 beds is proposed

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

Adding 315 beds. Total project cost $21 million.

Those are the numbers being proposed by firms that have been involved in performing a study of future needs for the Platte County Jail.

Officials from Goldberg Group Architects of St. Joseph presented preliminary numbers, drawings and price tags to county commissioners on Monday. The jail study has been underway for quite some time, and has involved Goldberg and a firm known as Weber and Associates.

In an interview last fall, Cpt. Erik Holland with the Platte County Sheriff’s Department said an initial report based on things such as population trends estimated that in the next 10 years the county will need 200-300 additional jail beds.

The current jail, constructed in the late 1990s, has 154 beds.

“That counts every bed in the facility, which includes holding cells and booking cells,” Holland told The Landmark in September.

The proposal presented to county commissioners this week recommends 315 additional beds in an expansion project that would be constructed on the existing footprint of the county government complex behind the county courthouse in Platte City.

“The proposed construction keeps everything on the footprint of the existing rectangle block of the government complex,” Jason Brown, presiding commissioner, said this week.

The preference to keep everything on the current footprint of the county complex was the direction given to consultants last year. This approach would keep the county from having to acquire additional property, either near the current site or elsewhere, county officials said, through an outright purchase or condemnation process.

“The commission hasn’t developed any position at all,” Brown said this week.

He indicated the commissioners would soon be having some discussions at meetings without the consultants present. Then the commissioners will reconnect with the consultants at a later date.

“There are things we feel like we need to discuss internally before we meet again with those folks,” Brown said.

Commissioners have not yet taken a position on whether they feel the recommendation, either in size or price, is right for Platte County. Nor has there yet been any firm discussion of a funding mechanism, Brown indicated.

Brown said all three commissioners “are being cautious about everything” when it comes to the jail issue.

One conceptual drawing shows much of the proposed jail addition on what is now an employee parking lot in front of the existing jail.

The proposal calls for much construction to go upward rather than outward.

Some of the estimated costs listed in the proposal for 315 beds (40 ‘shelled’ portable beds) shown to commissioners include:
New jail housing: 39,500 sq. ft for $10.66 million.
New shelled housing: 2,800 sq. ft. $420,000.
New sheriff’s department: 17,250 sq. ft. $2.9 million.
Connecting link with stairs: 3,000 sq. ft. $450,000.
Futures storage: 5,300 sq. ft. $450,000.
Futures housing: 4,350 sq. ft. $804,750.
Renovation for courtroom: 5,677 sq. ft. $738,000.
Parking lot: $400,000.
Kitchen expansion: $140,000.
Laundry expansion: $80,000.
Booking expansion: $375,000.
Miscellaneous: $175,000.
‘Soft’ costs: $3.3 million.