Article published November 29, 1993
$14 million jail to open cell doors in March
The new Spartanburg County jail should be ready to open in March, county officials say. The $14.1 million project is 90 percent complete and "right on budget," said Alan Ours, assistant county administrator. The construction is scheduled to be complete by mid-January. So far, the new jail at California Avenue and Howard Street is awaiting paint, carpet and new equipment.
There is a delay between completion of the building and its opening because the staff will have to be trained at the new site on new equipment and procedures. "It will take the staff some time to get used to the new jail," Ours said. The staff will be trained to use a new system of operating the doors and cells. Unlike the old facility, the new jail will be operated by an electronic panel from a control room. Officials are now working out the kinks. "It's just like going from an old job to a new job," said Larry Powers, director of the Spartanburg County jail. "The staff will have to get used to a whole new system of doing things."
Some changes will include the transportation of prisoners to court. Powers said officials are working on a plan. The current jail will be used as a court holding facility, and the annex will be reserved for future detention space, Ours said.
New building guidelines approved by corrections officials and the S.C. Association of Counties last year allowed Spartanburg County to double up inmates in two-thirds of its cells, increasing the capacity of its new jail from 240 to 360 inmates. The new building will have 240 rooms subdivided into five 48-room housing units. The jail population within the last three months has averaged 305 inmates daily. The highest number of inmates accommodated at the current jail has been 381, according to Powers. "We're looking forward to the completion of the project," Ours said. "We will be able to better serve the county needs for incarceration of inmates."