Article published August 23, 1990
Roebuck company chosen to build temporary jail cells
A Roebuck company was chosen yesterday to renovate a Spartanburg County warehouse into temporary jail cells to relieve overcrowding at the aging county jail. Meanwhile, County Council members authorized the county administrator and county attorneys to continue negotiations for a California Avenue property targeted as a site for a new $15 million jail, though owners of the property apparently want about $350,000 more than an appraisal shows the property is worth.
The County Council selected Roebuck Building Co. from among three local contractors submitting proposals. The council, however, still does not know exactly how much the project will cost. A maximum cost of the work will be negotiated between the contractor and county officials on a cost-plus basis. The company will receive a 5 percent profit under the terms of the contract.
County officials decided last month to solicit informal proposals for the work on the temporary jail rather than seek bids on specific design plans. They say the informal proposal approach will expedite the project by about 60 days.
Preliminary plans call for the construction of four 24-man dormitory cells in the county-owned warehouse, formerly the Sullivan Hardware Building, across the street from the county jail. The temporary jail facility will feature a fifth dormitory cell for weekend inmates.
Though specific construction costs are not available, the budget for the project, including architectural and engineering fees, is more than $1 million. The temporary jail will be used to house low-risk inmates while a new permanent jail is built. The new jail is expected to take about three years to complete.
Architects have identified a 43-acre site on California Avenue, between Howard and El Paso streets, as the best of several potential jail sites considered by the county. Representatives of property owner Mildred Walker of Dallas, Texas, have offered the property to the county for $1 million, county officials said during the meeting yesterday. An independent appraiser hired by the county set the value of the land at $643,200.
Councilman Danny Allen suggested authorizing county attorneys and County Administrator Roland Windham to continue negotiations and begin condemnation proceedings to take the property if an acceptable price cannot be reached.
But Councilman Skip Corn raised questions over whether soil tests had been performed to ensure the property was suitable for development. He also questioned whether authorizing the condemnation might lock the council into purchasing the land at a price to be set by a jury.
The council authorized continuing negotiations and preliminary work on condemnation providing that the county does not take control over the property, which would give them the option of backing out if the property proves too costly. Soil tests also were approved.