Franklin County will pay Brentwood-based Chiodini Associates $50,000 to conduct a jail study to determine future expansion or replacement options.

Chiodini was selected from three firms that submitted qualifications for the project and all three county commissioners are confident with the safety committee’s selection.

Chiodini Associates is a midsize architectural firm founded as a corporation in 1974 by Louis G. Chiodini.

“We can’t stress enough how important this is to the citizens of the county,” First District Commissioner Tim Brinker said. “Especially with the future expansion and enhancement of 911. It is one of the most important things we have on our plate.”

Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer said Chiodini was selected in part because of its reputation with jail and public safety centers, and history of performing feasibility studies on similar facilities.

“They will look at the sheriff’s building and determine if it is adequate for renovation or replacement,” Griesheimer said. “They have done other jail studies and have worked in the county before on Our Lady of Lourdes Church.”

Second District Commissioner Dave Hinson said he is most interested in how 911 upgrades will affect the study and looks forward to the results.

“I’m interested to see what they bring back to us and how in-depth they get with the process,” Hinson said. “Unfortunately, the jail has growth and this will determine if renovations and additions will work, or if we have to go with an all new facility.”

The selection committee is comprised of the county commissioners, County Counselor Mark Vincent, County EMA Director Abe Cook, EMA field operations officer Aaron Aitch, Sheriff Steve Pelton and jail Superintendent Capt. Dave Boehm. They are being advised by Todd Sweeney with Navigate Building Solutions, the firm hired to manage the project process over the course of the next few years.

Moving Forward

Navigate was hired in April and has already established an aggressive schedule.

Sweeney said plans are for Chiodini to have the feasibility study completed by December and the safety committee should have the information needed to move forward.

Although costs can’t be calculated until the study is complete, similar projects involving new facilities have cost upward of $30 million.

In the past, Griesheimer has said the county can’t and won’t move forward on any building projects until a funding stream is in place.

Following the study, Objective No. 2 for Navigate is to share findings with the public and for a planned tax referendum possibly on the November ballot.

Its third objective will be to begin designs for the upgrades by December of this year and have the bidding process completed by August 2018.

Finally, Objective No. 4 includes physical construction beginning in August 2018 and being complete by December 2019.

Need

In March, the Franklin County Jail set a record population, hitting an all-time high of housing 171 inmates in a facility designed for just 107.

In 2016, the average jail residency was 138 inmates, with a one-day high of 164.