County Corrections to get new home

Published 3:02pm Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Thanks to a bid acceptance by the Escambia County Commission Monday, staff members of the Escambia County Community Corrections office will have a new home by early next year.

Community Corrections Director Jerry Caylor said the announcement of the bid award is one he is happy to hear.

“We have just outgrown our spot,” Caylor said. “We need the room and we need the modernization the new facility will have. But, space is our number one priority now.”

Caylor said the current office housing the Community Corrections Department is around 600 to 800 square feet. The new facility, once complete, will give the staff 3,000 square feet of space.

“We will have a classroom at the new facility and that will allow us to hold DUI classes on-site,” Caylor said. “Right now those classes are held at the Escambia County Courthouse in the courtroom and requires the whole floor to operate. Once we have the ability to hold those classes at our new building, we won’t need to use the courtroom and have that added expense for the county.”

The new facility will be built on a two-lot space at 715-717 Douglas Ave. with construction expected to begin in October.

“We have been told it will take about four months for the building to be completed,” Caylor said. “It will be nice to have the space. In June 2009, we went from serving an average of 200 clients to serving about 900 clients overnight with addition of a new program through our offices. We are crowded with people and our staff is a little cramped.”

Currently, the Community Corrections Department has six staff members with four housed on-site at the facility and two additional staff members stationed at the Escambia County Courthouse.

“We are excited about the building and getting into a soon as possible,” Caylor.

County Commission Chairman David Stokes said the awarding of the big came a little later than first hoped for by county officials.

“We had the bidding process rejected about a year ago when we realized there were some details left out of the specifications for the project,” Stokes said. “When you have to do change orders during a job you are going to have confusion. We decided to re-do the bids to make sure all of the details are included for the project and all of the specifications were provided by those who wanted to bid on the project.”

The project, estimated at $379,000, will be completed by the Samuel Sipper Construction Company from Evergreen. Work is expected to begin in October and will include the building and parking lot construction.

A discussion during Monday’s meeting lead to a plan by the commission to resubmit a request to change at least a portion of County Road 6 from a minor collector to a major collector — increasing the chances of getting Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program funds.

Commissioner Larry White, who serves District 3 where County Road 6 is located, said the change would allow some chance of qualifying for the ATRIP funds.

“We received word that only a portion of County Road 6 will be eligible for ATRIP funds instead of the entire road,” White said. “Actually, the request to change the road from a minor to a major collector was denied. But, we can resubmit a request for the change for just a section of the road. We’ll do that. We’d rather have some than have none.”

County Road 6 runs from Big Escambia Creek to Pollard and Old Hwy. 31. The Alabama Highway Department has agreed to allow county officials to resubmit a request to change the portion of County Road 6 from Hwy. 113 to the four-lane portion of U.S. 31 near Pollard.

“To qualify as a major collector, a route must collect from two major arteries,” White said. “That portion of County Road 6 collects from two four-lane routes, so it does qualify.”

White said the commission has received preliminary approval for a change in County Road 12’s status from a minor to a major collector, putting the route eligible for ATRIP funds.

Commissioner David Quarker, who serves District 5 where County Road 12 lays, said the road runs from Pouncey Road to U.S. 21 and on to Jack Springs Road.

In other business, the commission:

• Approved the annual agreement with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency in the amount of $36,253;

• Approved the request for the purchase of drug testing supplies to be used by officials within the county law enforcement department;

• Approved a request to seek the attorney general’s opinion concerning a gray area of police jurisdiction within the county. David Stokes, chairman of the commission, said “some things have come up” concerning when a municipality works a jurisdiction and collects revenue from the area. Stokes said the issue is noting controversial, but does create an area of uncertainty in regard to the collection of revenues.

• Approved a renewal agreement with the Alabama Department of Youth Services in Bay Minette for one bed for juvenile’s who may need to be held in connection with any case.



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