In Jan. 15 Issue
After a presentation by Garland Zanhook, the board said no to the idea of putting a jail in the basement of the new judicial center.
Judge-Executive Mickey Garner had brought up the idea after holding repeated meetings with officials in Frankfort over the last few weeks and tasking the architects and construction management company with setting plans in motion for the jail.
Garner said he wanted to save the county some money on the cost of a new jail, and so had embarked on the meetings in Frankfort with the Administrative Office of the Courts, and the Department of Criminal Justice.
Zanhook, head of facilities for the AOC, told the board he'd not told Garner "no" when the judge first suggested the change because he didn't want to seem uncooperative.
However, Zanhook’s comments during the meeting were did nothing to support the proposal.
After being told by Zanhook that they would have to go back through authorization processes already completed, the board passed on the jail.
Garner had begun the discussion by saying the marriage of a new court building and jail had never been done in the way he was proposing.
The architects drawings for the project would have taken up about 11,000 square feet, or most of the full basement of the new courts' building, and added a 4,489 square foot single-story addition behind the building as well. There would have been a prisoner exercise area outside at the northeast corner of the building and Pike Alley would have been blocked by the "sally port" of the new jail.
The loss of storage and expansion space in the basement was the first of the sticking points with the members of the board, followed by questions over the appearance of a prisoner exercise yard at the back of the new judicial center.
But the board members' critical issue was returning to square one with the two boards and possibly the legislature with over 20 months of work already done toward getting the new judicial center constructed.
Zanhook also brought up problems with who would be responsible for upkeep of the combined building. He said in another county where other county offices have been allowed in the basement there was resistance from the county at paying their share of the cost of repairing a leaking roof.
"The magistrates and county judge told me, 'It'll leak on your circuit judge a long time before it gets down here in the basement to bother us,'" Zanhook said.
Though he would not rule out the marriage of the new courts' building and a jail his concerns were enough to bring a unanimous rejection of further consideration of that plan.