New correctional center on schedule

While groundbreaking for the new correctional facility is still sometime in the future, much is moving forward and the project is on schedule.

That was the message from Plumas County Public Works Director Bob Perreault.

Although Perreault has a more formal presentation for the Plumas County Board of Supervisors later this month, he was more than willing to give supervisors an update at the Aug. 20 meeting.

Supervisor Sherrie Thrall placed the jail construction update on the agenda. Two supervisors who are involved in the Monday morning jail conference calls are kept up to date, she said. The other “two of us don’t have a clue as to what’s going on.”

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Thrall asked how it was going dollar wise. “I know that they are being drawn down,” she said about grant funds earmarked specifically for the project. Plumas County was one of a few counties to receive $25 million in grant funding to construct a new correctional facility. The existing facility is small, out of date and often the subject of Plumas County’s Grand Jury investigations.

Perreault explained that there are nine different county officials involved in the regular Monday morning teleconference meetings. These include supervisors Jeff Engel and Lori Simpson.

Perreault said the process is moving along according to the timetable. At this point the state has 95 percent of the information it needs. Once everything is in place it can give the green light to put the project out to bid.

When the process began, Perreault said there were certain things that weren’t required that are now.

For instance, Abernethy Lane now requires reconfiguration. This would allow for the large transfer trucks that carry refuse away from that transfer site.

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There are also some new easements that are required that weren’t in the initial plan.

And everything must be in place before the real estate arm of state government releases it to the corrections branch.

Perreault anticipates these steps and others will take two to three months before the state is ready to give the project the go ahead.

Perreault said he talked with the state architect about assisting in a presentation before the Board of Supervisors sometime in September. He said that about one hour will be needed for that presentation.

Right now, public works is planning to use the old armory located near the transfer site and across from the present jail. Its walls would be reinforced to allow it to be used as a sand house. This is part of the department’s efforts to clear out a former sand yard to make way for the new correctional center. This would be a temporary site until Public Works purchases land and has time to build a sand house.

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But before the work can get underway, Perreault said he’s waiting for the Sheriff’s Office to remove the things it has stored in the armory.

Perreault said that public works has ordered winter sand for its other three location. It’s holding off on the Quincy location until the armory is ready.

“Basically what you’re saying is that we’re still on schedule?” Thrall asked.

“We’re still on schedule,” according to Perreault.

Thrall also expressed concerns about funding. “If we even remotely anticipate needing funding,” she said it would have to be put in the budget now or during the mid-year budget.

Thrall is concerned that construction costs will exceed the amounts bid.

Supervisor Lori Simpson asked what year the new correctional center will be finished. Perreault said it should be done in two to three years after groundbreaking takes place. Simpson thought they had enough time to budget additional funding in a future budget.

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Plumas County Sheriff Greg Hagwood was asked what his thoughts are on the process. He said they were working as hard as they can to stay on schedule.

The longer the process takes, the higher materials and wages will go. But if the schedule is adhered to he thinks they can stay on budget.

“My top priority is to stay on that schedule to the extent that it’s humanly possible,” Hagwood said.

He said that he doesn’t want the correctional center project unduly influenced with other projects.

Hagwood said that getting land for the new public works yard is a priority for that department but he said he wanted those two projects to remain dependent and not independent of each other.

Engel said he wanted to see public works get the existing sand yard cleared out.

Engel said he talked to Public Works Deputy Director Joe Blackwell about getting rid of the old conveyors a year ago. “They’re still there!” he said.

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Engel said that Perreault, Blackwell and himself were going to look at the Tobin water project. “While we’re trapped inside that vehicle we’ll discuss that,” Engel said.

Perreault said that he would let Blackwell speak for himself.