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Jail renovation complete

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners closed out final documents on the Justice Center/jail renovation project Tuesday evening, Jan. 21, at its regular meeting. The project met substantial completion on Dec. 1.
The only issue that wasn’t fully completed by Dec. 1 was the installation of security cameras, which Sheriff Rodney (Rod) Seelye said are now fully operational, as of Jan. 17.
Commissioner George Ethridge said he had a problem with that, since RQAW provides a labor warranty for one year following the substantial completion date which was Dec. 1 even though the camera work wasn’t complete until mid-January.
Seelye said the completion date was OK with him.
‘I feel good about the work that was done,’ he said.
Part of the project included painting the interior of the jail, which Seelye had done in-house with inmates instead of paying an outside group to do it.
‘He saved well over $100,000,’ Bret Dodd, RQAW engineering consultant for the project, said.
Seelye said he did have to pay for a couple of pizzas and two liters for the inmates.
Dodd said they completed about 40 check-list items.
‘We accomplished a lot,’ he said.
He said the change-order cost was only 0.59 percent of the total cost of the project, while the average for similar projects is normally 10 to 15 percent.
Dodd thanked Ethridge for being a part of the project and attending the weekly meetings.
‘George was invaluable to us … he kept the project moving forward,’ Dodd said.
In November 2012, the county approved $1.2 million out of riverboat gaming funds for repairs to the jail, which were needed because of multiple failed inspections.
The jail, which was 18 years old before the repairs began, needed to undergo several maintenance projects, including exterior and interior caulking, glazing and repair and replacement of sealant throughout the facility. Re-coating of shower walls and floors also was necessary because water was leaking through the walls and into inmate sleeping areas. Stainless-steel shower units in all inmate areas also needed to be replaced due to abuse by inmates.
Dodd said the audio/visual project at the Purdue Building also has been completed.
In other business, Jon Saulman, chief of the Harrison Township Volunteer Fire Dept., requested $250,000 of riverboat gaming funds that is already earmarked for the department as part of the gentleman’s agreement between the Harrison County Fire Chiefs Association and the county council. But, Saulman also requested $50,000 more that was not a part of the agreement and not approved by the fire chiefs association. The total of $300,000 would be matched by the Harrison Township trustee to purchase a 2015 pumper tanker fire apparatus.
Saulman said he thinks the county should look favorably on the request because of the amount of burden the town of Corydon and surrounding area places on the department.
Ethridge said the county council plans to review the gentleman’s agreement plan with the fire chiefs association soon, and he wouldn’t approve the extra $50,000 until after hearing the report from the review.
However, Ethridge and the other two commissioners had no problem with the $250,000 already allotted by the gentleman’s agreement.
The board re-appointed Bill Booth to the Milltown-Whiskey Run Fire Dept. and Spencer Lee Taylor to the Blue River Regional Water board and will need to fill a vacancy on the Harrison County Advisory Plan Commission that was created when Cheryl Hildreth moved out of the county (her term expires at the end of the year). The board asked for a recommendation from the plan commission.
The next commissioners’ meeting will be Monday at 8:30 a.m. at the Government Center in south Corydon.