Prop P

Two Indiana county jails could serve as a blueprint to a Franklin County project funded by the Prop P sales tax. 

Sheriff Steve Pelton, Capt. Dave Boehm, jail superintendent, and Staff Sgt. Jason Grindstaff of the sheriff’s department, and representatives from FGM Architects and Navigate Building Solutions, the general contractor, toured detention facilities Monday in Adams and Miami counties, in Indiana. Both of the jails were built within the past two years.

The two jails visited during the day trip are of similar size as the future Franklin County Jail. The facilities also have architectural designs that could be incorporated here, according to Pelton.

“It was a good trip,” he said, “These jails have similar layouts as what we are looking to do in Franklin County.”

Based on what they saw in Indiana, the architects for the county’s jail will sketch plans.

“We will review them, look for efficiency and make sure that’s the direction we want to go,” said Pelton.

What interests the sheriff and his staff is the elevated control center at both facilities. 

The control center provides a “direct line of sight” to the holding cells and meets Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) requirements, Pelton said. 

He explained the elevated control center also could save money in construction and require fewer jail staff to be stationed there compared to other designs.

Pelton noted that there has been no decision on the final plans, and several options are on the table.

“When we spend taxpayers’ money, we want to ensure we make the best decision for the county,” he told The Missourian.

There are multiple factors jail officials will examine before making a final decision on the Franklin County plans.

Those include the deliveries to the jail, medication distribution, intake and housing pods. 

“We don’t want maximum security inmates mixed in with minimum security,” Pelton added.

Sheriffs of Adams and Miami counties were accommodating to his staff during the visits.

Phase 1 Review

“They gave us an opportunity to ask their staff questions so we can further discuss the pros and cons of the jail setup,” Pelton said. 

The visit was part of FGM Architects’ goal to revisit and verify Phase 1 of the project completed by Chiodini Architects. 

Chiodini was terminated from the project on May 23 but the plans are the property of Franklin County.

According to a time line released in June, 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 proposed expansion of the existing Franklin County Jail/911 facilities will incorporate 47,000 square feet of new construction with extensive renovations and strengthening of the existing structure.

Project Costs

According to preliminary figures, the $3 million in annual Prop P funds for the jail will be divided into $2.4 million toward bond payment, $300,000 for new jail staff and the additional $300,000 will go toward 911 communications needs.

The largest and most costly portion of the project will be a $19,586,000 inmate housing unit expansion east on the current property.

Plans propose a 41,000-square-foot, two-story building that would include 250 long-term beds and additional space for 22 more.

This portion of the project would include multiple secure day rooms, two- and four-man cells and ADA-approved cells.

New booking, prisoner intake/transport, maximum security and medical facilities will be part of the addition, as well as a housing control area for guards to monitor prisoner movement.

Another 6,000-square-foot addition will be placed on the opposite side of the building for a new 911 facility.

The $2,859,000 addition will include space for 12 dispatch consoles, two supervisors and a new earthquake-, flood- and tornado-proof emergency operations center.


In addition to the new expansions, seven areas of the existing facility will be renovated to accommodate the expanding sheriff’s department staff and emergency management agency.

These renovations are projected to cost $3,274,000.

A major result of the renovations will be reincorporating the narcotics division back to the sheriff’s department headquarters.

Due to current space constrictions, the drug unit is currently housed at an off-site location in Krakow.

The next largest area to be renovated and enlarged will be used for evidence storage and will include a laboratory and garage for vehicle forensics.

The road patrol and detective divisions will be enlarged and renovated, and will include a “war room,” offices, armory, interview rooms and more than 30 individual workstations.

An additional $5.1 million in “soft costs” have been budgeted in the overall $30.8 million construction costs. Those include furniture and other equipment.