NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - "Medical space too small" and "equipment in poor condition" are two findings listed in a Nacogdoches County Jail assessment final report.
Architects made a complete presentation Tuesday before the Nacogdoches County Commission. Now, the court is absorbing all the information and reviewing the options.
The bound facility assessment concluded that the jail's kitchen was too small. The assessment also listed the following problem areas: poor workflow, insufficient cells, outdated technology, and improperly working life safety systems.
Wayne Gondeck, the president and principal architect for DRG Architects, said Nacogdoches County has "basically made do as time has gone on."
The Nacogdoches County Jail walk-through was in December. Multiple visits followed.
Gondeck has undoubtedly made that statement in numerous East Texas counties. His firm is reviewing numerous aging jails in the region.
"These are bare bone facilities," Gondeck said. "They're not Taj Mahals."
However, based on the deteriorating conditions found in the Nacogdoches County Jail, the cost to fix the problems is overwhelming.
Commissioners flipped to the last page first where options are found.
In Nacogdoches County, option one costs almost $18. It calls for a re-purposed dorm addition, renovation of the main jail, the construction of additional inmate housing, and a new kitchen and other support areas.
Option two, suggests a completely new jail from the ground up and to re-purpose the existing the jail. Cost: over $22 million.
Neither option is an expense County Judge Mike Perry isn't too eager to take on.
"We still owe $13 million, and we're paying over $400,000 a year interest on what we owe now," Perry said.
The court has been assigned to absorb all the findings. The architects will be waiting on a decision. Meanwhile, an aging jail facility, and the cost to fix it will begin to weigh on the minds of taxpayers.
It's too early to determine which option, if any, the commissioners will select to remedy the jail issues. Either one will require additional funds. Perry has been told grants for jail projects are non-existent. However, he still wishes to pursue the search. Jail bond elections are among the most popular funding solution.