Jail construction on track to begin in September 2017

Jail First FloorThe days of Colusa County having what officials describe as an outdated jail facility are numbered, as the construction of its new jail could begin as soon as September 2017.

If everything goes according to plan, the construction of Colusa County’s new jail could be completed by November 29, 2019, and occupied by Jan. 31, 2018.

Colusa was among four small counties that requested the maximum grant amount of $20 million, the funding for which came from Senate Bill 863, also known as the Adult Local Criminal Justice Facilities Construction program.

This is the third time the county has applied for funding under various Senate and Assembly Bills, and – as hoped – they were successful in securing funding under the latest legislation, Lt. Jail Commander Mike Villasenor said.

SB 863 provides up to $500 million in state lease-revenue bond financing authority for the acquisition, design, and construction of adult local criminal justice facilities in the state.

Colusa County received the entirety of the funding it requested – and the maximum amount allowed based on its population – which was officially announced in a press release from Assistant Sheriff Jim Saso on Nov. 12, 2015.

As the county will be competing for the services of architects and engineers with other jail projects that have received funding, “the time schedule is going to be very important to this project,” Villasenor said.

Jail First Floor2“With a delay in a project of this size by a month, that could set us back a couple hundred thousand dollars.”

He added that Colusa County was ahead of the curve, as it was the only county that has a project already established with the state.

Because Colusa qualifies as a small county, matching fund requirements were waived, however “there are still going to be up-front costs that the county is responsible for that we can’t help,” Villasenor said.

Officials said that the proposed project will construct a new facility that will provide adequate programming, mental health treatment and recreation space. The jail will replace substandard, open-bar front cells and dormitories with podular housing units and provide a medical and dental clinic/exam space, the Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.

Jail Second FloorThe proposed 92 to 96 bed, 26,600 square foot facility will be built on the northeast portion of the existing Sheriff’s Office property. It will consist of two stories. The main level of the building will amount to 15,000 square feet, the upper tier level will consist of 7,600 square feet, and there will be 4,000 square feet of “yard” space.

“The movement right now is to create more programs, and we have incorporated that,” Villasenor said.

Jail Sgt. Mark Contreras added that the new facility would make for better living conditions as well. ■

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Brian Pearson is the Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects include reporting on local government and the newly feature sports page. To contact Brian about this article, or for future articles, please email him at brian@colusacountynews.net