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Construction on Bulloch County Jail is going well
053107 NEW JAIL 4
With the old jail in the background, Will Phillips repositions a ladder atop the new control room at the new Bulloch County Jail Thursday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

Jail Construction

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In spite of all the heavy equipment, fuel odors, and the noise and vibrations of jack hammers, operations at the Bulloch County Jail are going smoothly, Sheriff Lynn Anderson said.
    Dispatchers were moved to a quieter part of the building as construction of the jail expansion continues, but others in the office are dealing with the noise, the odor of exhaust from bulldozers and other equipment, and the vibrations from air jack hammers, he said.
    "The last couple of weeks have been a little noisy," he said. "We're picking up pictures off the floor every day, but we expected that."
    Anderson's sense of humor cushions the aggravation of working in the building while construction is going on, but he said he is looking forward to when the jail expansion and other construction projects are finished.
    In addition to expanding the jail to house 393 inmates instead of the current 106, making a larger visitation area, interview rooms and courtroom,  the construction phase will include a new Central 911 building in front of the jail and a kitchen in the back, to be shared with the Bulloch County Correctional Institute.
    And the job has gone so well so far that the workers may be a little ahead of schedule.
    "As far as the construction goes, it's pretty much on schedule, maybe a week or two ahead," he said. "They are moving right along at a pretty good pace."
    The jail is expected to be completed by next April or May, but inmates might be moved into the new housing area before that, he said. "In six months, the new jail part will be completed and they can move in."
    That way renovation can be done on the existing housing area.
    Although the noise of the construction may affect employees, inmates aren't having it that bad, he said.
    "They might have to talk a little louder, but inmates have it quieter than we have," he said.
    Dispatchers, once stationed on the "jail side" of the building that also houses the administrative side - the Bulloch County Sheriff's Department - now work out of an office on the administrative side, Anderson said. The move is temporary, but eventually dispatch will be located on that side of the building permanently, he said.
    Being located near booking and the area where visitation is handled is not ideal, but moving to a quieter area near other offices "will give them an opportunity to concentrate more on what they do - in a quieter place," he said.
    Few changes will take place in the administrative side of the building - just a few additional offices and a new medical room for the county nurse to see patients, he said.
    Capt. Lee Harris, currently in charge of jail operations, said things are running smoothly and the normal operations have not been affected by the construction.
    He said it was highly unusual, however, to see a crane inside the building, installing panels in the roof. Workers were doing that Wednesday, he said.
    Bright orange netting directs visitors to the sheriff's department and jail to a safe walkway while workers in hard hats dodge falling bricks as the block walls are torn down. Inside, temporary plywood walls separate the construction area from the rest of the building. The odors of diesel and exhaust are strong at times, but an industrial fan helps, Anderson said.
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