Plans for new $32M jail presented to Pender County commissioners

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Pender County is considering plans for a much needed new jail.

Sheriff Alan Cutler says the county has outgrown its current facility, which was built back in 1978 and saw a couple additions in the 1990s.

“We’re having to house inmates out of county and it’s very costly,” Cutler said. “Also the upkeep, the maintenance upkeep in our facility right now is very costly.”

The current jail has a capacity of 92 beds. Representatives from Moseley Architects, the firm commissioned by the county to form preliminary plans for a new jail, say Pender County needs more than double that.

“We want to design something that can be easily expandable as your needs change over time, as the county continues to grow,” Moseley Architects Vice-President Dan Mace said. “We’re recommending a 350-bed core, but we’re targeting about 226 initial beds that follow Todd’s projections. That comes out roughly in the program document about 73,000 square feet.”

This isn’t the first time the county has explored the idea of building a new jail. Moseley architects were first commissioned to form plans back in 2011.

“They just kind of pulled it out, brushed it off. We’re taking another look at it now,” said Pender County Commission chair George Brown. “Our numbers have changed a little bit, but not a lot of difference from what we needed back in 2011.”

Brown says the county recently received a 100 acre plot of land from the state just outside of Burgaw. That would be the site of the new facility.

The estimated cost for the new jail is $32,391,833.13.

“It’s basically going to be about three years from the time we give the green light until we are actually able to use the facility,” Brown said. “So it’s something we probably need to act on pretty soon.”

A separate new law enforcement center is estimated to cost more than $11 million.

Brown could not give a timeline of when commissioners will make a decision.

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