The renovation and expansion of the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office Arnold Ray Akins Complex is progressing well and is actually just a bit ahead of schedule.
The project, which includes new buildings and additions as well as expansions of current space, began in early 2018 and is expected to be completed in late 2020, said Cindy Steinmann, Bulloch County special projects manager.
Some of the construction is visible from Highway 301 North, but more work is being done behind the current public works building (known as “the lodge”), as well as behind the jail.
Bulloch County public works is getting a new, larger building, which is a necessity, as they have outgrown the old one, she said. Bulloch County Sheriff Noel Brown said his office will take over “the lodge,” which will be used for administration and meeting and work space, such as interview rooms. The top floor will house the Criminal Investigations Division, and the bottom floor will be used for interviews, records and conferences.
A new evidence room is under way to alleviate the stacked conditions of the current space. Brown, in past conversations with the Statesboro Herald, has referred to an urgent need for more administrative office space and storage and an improved intake and booking area. He has also said he hopes to see a clinical area where nurses and doctors treat patients and a separate area to house mentally ill inmates.
In a recent conversation about his seeking reelection in November, Brown said most of his main focus as sheriff will be jail improvements. He and Bulloch County commissioners have discussed possible future addition of jail pods, but the current county coffers are only able to fund the ongoing projects at this time.
Steinmann said the current projects will cost an estimated $4,608,000.
Brown said the expansions will enable his staff to better serve the residents, and possibly even save money. Building a new training facility is also part of the project and will cut travel costs and other expenses for deputies, who currently must go elsewhere to train. The building will also be used for group meetings and will have movable panels to adjust room sizes as needed.
He said there will be space available for deputies to take online training courses, too.
With no unforeseen issues and weather cooperating, the current project is expected to wrap up in October, according to Steinmann.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.