By Nick Worth
Work on the Navajo County Jail expansion project is proceeding on time and within budget, according to Public Works Director and Assistant County Manager Homero Vela.
Vela said Phase 1 of the two-phase project wrapped up last Saturday, Nov. 23, with the sealing of the floor in the new kitchen facility. He said plans called for cooking to begin in the new kitchen the following day.
Along with the new kitchen, the new laundry facility is complete and ready to go.
Phase 2 begins this week with the demolition of some of the old facilities.
“We’ll start the demolition of the old kitchen area (this) week,” said Vela. The old booking area is also due to be demolished as Phase 2 begins.
“On Dec. 9 we’re renting a trackhoe to knock the old building down,” said Vela. He noted that since the trackhoe rental and delivery are expensive, his department would get double duty out of the rental.
“Once the demolition and cleanup are done on the old jail building, we’ll take it across the highway,” said Vela. “There is some trackhoe work that needs to be done on the pad for the new Public Works Complex.”
In addition to the new kitchen and laundry for the jail, the new medical facility is also finished. Jeremiah Lloyd, civil engineer with the Public Works Department, noted that the medical building itself is complete, but work is continuing on the parking lot.
“The medical personnel will be moving into the building in the near future,” Vela said.
On Feb. 1 of next year the contractor, FCI Constructors, Inc. will begin pouring the footings for the new booking area, sally port and a hallway connecting the booking area to the medical area, laundry and kitchen.
The entire project, estimated to cost approximately $4 million, is tentatively due to be finished on July 1.
“The jail expansion project is a shared project,” said Vela. In addition to the Public Works Department personnel, Deputy Finance Director Mary Springer and Jail Commander Ernie Garcia have been instrumental in the planning process, according to Vela.
By Nick Worth