Franklin County Jail Stock

With the financial wheels turning, the Franklin County Commission will shift its attention toward the progress of the jail planning and design phase ongoing since May.

After weeks of review, on Tuesday, Sept. 18, FGM Architects will give a public presentation to the commission and update the design process, which is projected to be complete by December.

First Update

The architectural firm came into the process in June after original architectural firm, Chiodini Architects, was fired May 23 by the county over design differences involving earthquake protection. 

According to its presentation materials, FGM planned to revisit and verify Phase 1 of the project, completed by Chiodini and is the intellectual property of Franklin County, by July 27.

Building permit requests and design plans were to be submitted to the city of Union by mid-August.

Schematic designs should be completed by early October and bidding documents should be available by mid-December.

Bidding should be completed by May of 2019 and overall construction completed by August 2020.


The first real hiccup in the jail came in late May when the county commission voted unanimously to part ways with Chiodini Associates.

The Brentwood-based architectural firm had been involved with the county jail/911 expansion and renovation project since August 2017 when it was paid $50,000 to do the original jail needs assessment study.

The commission voted not to renew a $2.1 million Chiodini contract for phase two of the project, but also to terminate any existing contracts as well.

At issue was Chiodini’s refusal to budge on designs that would meet 2018 earthquake codes and potentially add nearly 15 percent to the $30.8 million project.

At the time First District Commissioner Tim Brinker said the earthquake codes were not the only issues the county had with Chiodini, but it was the biggest.

Seismic Codes

In April, The Missourian reported the costs for the jail/911 project could increase by as much as $5 million.

According to information released at a jail construction “kickoff” meeting right after Proposition P was passed by county voters, an additional $4,629,483 had been tentatively added to the price tag for the jail project listed as “seismic upgrades.”

The 2018 Union city code update would require additional materials to be added into the structure to make it less vulnerable to earthquakes and other natural disasters.

The seismic upgrades are necessary for “last building standing” facilities such as jails and emergency operations centers (EOC). Schools and hospitals would also fall into the category requiring additional supports.

The total projected cost originally released was $30,863,863. With the potential upgrades the cost would go up to $35,492,703.

Second District Commissioner Dave Hinson said the county was pushing to have all of the required building permits filed with the city of Union before the end of the year before the 2018 codes are adopted.

But, Chiodini refused to design the building to the older codes.