County awards contract for jail holding area

FRONT ROYAL – Warren County will move forward on a project to turn the former jail into a court holding area.

The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to award a contract to Pyramid Builders LLC of Stephens City to perform the work. Pyramid submitted the lowest bid of $149,881. Lantz Construction Company of Winchester Inc. bid $231,807 and Dink’s Construction in Harrisonburg offered to build the project for $215,071.

The low bid came in line with the project cost estimate of $100,000-$150,000. The county will use $50,000 in the court holding project, $17,535 in the special projects fund identified for jail improvements and $104,000 for work release to cover the cost of the project. Funding for the project also includes $14,988 for contingencies to cover unexpected costs.

The county closed its local facility upon the opening of the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail on Winchester Road north of Front Royal last summer.

Sheriff Daniel McEathron requested that the county make alterations to the old jail to accommodate separate holding areas for adult males and females and for juveniles.

All bids came in significantly lower that those submitted in fall 2014 when the county first advertised the project. In fact, at the time, the county only received one bid, from Lantz, whose cost came in over $500,000. Unknown costs, such as a camera system, and demolition drove up the price, officials said at the time.

Rather than accept the bid, the Building Committee asked staff to scale back the project to bring the cost down to within the available funding. Workers in the Department of Parks and Recreation worked during the winter to complete necessary demolition work.

Plans call for the project to provide facilities for holding inmates brought to the courthouse as they await their appearance for hearings and trials. The project includes refinishing existing spaces and adding a short corridor to connect two existing areas. Spaces include a room for admitting inmates, a staff break room with a small kitchen, a staff bathroom with shower and two offices. The contractor plans to install a pad for loading inmates. Work includes plumbing, electrical and a conduit for security equipment at the entrance doors.

Also at the meeting, the board:
• Approved the purchase of a virtual training simulator as requested by McEathron at a cost of $76,101. The sheriff intends to cover the cost with $55,000 from funds set aside in special projects and $21,101 from asset forfeiture. The simulator will allow for one to four officers to train in marksmanship and one to eight other officers in the use of lethal and less-than-lethal force techniques, as well as escalation and de-escalation
• Accepted state-contract prices for furniture for the Department of Social Services space in the new, Health and Human Services Complex. The county intends to use money from the special projects fund to cover the $206,148 cost to furnish the department area.
• Adopted the recruitment and retention coordinator job description and grade placement as proposed by Springsted. Supervisors approved the creation of the part-time position for the Department of Fire and Rescue Services at the board’s July 21 meeting. The department intends to use $20,000 from the fees collected through ambulance service to cover the cost of the position.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com