Jail expansion to cost $2.5 million

Playing cards are left
behind at the Wood County Jails minium security cell. The Sheriff has plans on removing the wall to make
room for more inmates. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)

Costs to renovate and add space to the Wood County Justice Center could top $2.5 million.
The figure, as well as detailed renovation plans, were discussed at Thursday’s meeting of the Wood County
Board of Commissioners.
"None of us like to spend money like this, but we don’t have a choice," said Sheriff Mark
Wasylyshyn during the meeting. Representatives of Wachtel & McAnally, a Newark architectural
firm, were present to talk about the costs and show preliminary schematics.
The project’s $2.531 million cost as presented Thursday would include a 60-bed minimum security addition
to the jail in the former work industries building attached to the facility, and the potential of two
renovations to some of the existing minimum security space, creating 19- and 18-bed medium security
areas. Some of the new space would accommodate a total of 19 beds designated for female inmates, more
than quadrupling the current bed spaces. The renovations would also alleviate what the sheriff said were
some security issues at the current jail.
The cost additionally includes preparatory measures designed to allow expansion of the work industries
building space to accommodate a total of 96 beds in the future. The cost of the upgrade for the
additional 36 beds was not yet known.
With the renovations, "we should be in shape for quite a few years as far as housing goes,"
Wasylyshyn said.
The interest in expanding the jail is not new – the facility has been fighting overcrowding issues for
years. It has a capacity of 149 beds, and the county has frequently had to pay other institutions to
house inmates it doesn’t have space for. In recent years, costs to do so have amounted to as much as
$127,000 annually. A proposal that would have additionally expanded the booking area of the jail, at an
estimated cost of $4.2 million, had previously been put forth but is not going forward at this time.
"I don’t actually see numbers (of inmates) going down, with the county growing," said
Wasylyshyn. Currently however, he noted that the jail is experiencing a "lull," with about 138
beds filled.
In reviewing the plans, commissioners James Carter and Joe Kuhlman noted that the costs were, in
Kuhlman’s words, "more than I want to spend," but both recognized the project should be done.
Commissioner Doris Herringshaw was absent.
"This facility has been at capacity for a decade," said Kuhlman.
Wasylyshyn noted the expansion and renovation would not require an increase in staffing.
Kuhlman and Carter agreed the additional 36-bed renovation and one of the additional medium-security
renovations could be bid out as alternate items separate from the majority of the project.
Wachtel & McAnally is now to go back and revise the design prior to taking the project to bid.

In other business, commissioners:
• held a final public hearing for the vacation of one public road and two public alleys in Bloom
Township. The petition to do so was made by Harold and Patricia Haynes, on whose land the segments are
located. Twelve other landowners were also involved. The areas are situated within what is known as
"Harper’s Addition to Welker." County Engineer Ray Huber recommended that the petition be
granted. Commissioners are expected to act on the matter on March 11.
• heard from Chris Streidel of the Family Services Counseling Center concerning a grant application for
$600,000. The monies would be used for services to decrease criminal recidivism, including the use of a
drug that prevents users of opiates from getting high. The two-year grant would require that the funds
be spent by the county, which would then be reimbursed. The Sheriff’s Office, as well as Bowling Green
State University, have expressed interest in collaborating.
"It’s an exciting proposition," said Streidel.
• heard that a volatile organic compound known as Chloroethane has been found in a well at the Wood
County Landfill. Additional testing is to be done at the site, and representatives from Hull and
Associates, Toledo, said additional vents and a trench could be installed around the well, with
additional vents also in the landfill to release methane in order to decrease the chemical. The chemical
was reportedly first found in 2011, and vents were initially put in at that time.