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Committee Begins to Eye Potential for Reconfiguration of Public Safety Building Space

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Committee Begins to Eye Potential for Reconfiguration of Public Safety Building Space

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The County Legislature’s Public Safety Committee today viewed first-step preliminary concept drawings of how interior space might be repurposed in a renovated County Public Safety Building.  The preliminary drawings, prepared by LaBella Associates, showed one way in which interior space might be reconfigured to create more jail program space, responding to the County’s desire to investigate improvements to non-jail bed facilities and systems.

The scenario presented would envision a two-phase project—the first constructing a new adjoining facility to house the Sheriff’s Road Patrol and Civil Divisions (projected cost close to $4 million); the second performing interior renovation of the space currently occupied by Road Patrol and Civil, remaining within the existing building footprint (estimated cost of those renovations nearly $2.8 million).  Mark Kukuvka, of LaBella, stressed that the concept presented represents only a very preliminary first step, presented for committee review.

Committee members agreed they would like to see concept renderings of additional potential approaches (with cost estimates), including for the idea of building a small cell pod off one corner of the building to replace the existing dormitory section of the jail, turning the dormitory section into program space.  It was noted that the jail’s proportion of dormitory-configured space is greater than recommended by the State.  The pod configuration, it was also noted, can provide oversight of a greater number of inmates per corrections officer.  LaBella was also asked to address the impact of potential alternative energy sources such as geothermal; to include comparative data regarding existing space for various program elements; and to report on the cost per square foot and total costs of other such recent similar construction projects in New York State.

County Administrator Jason Molino advised that any such renovation project should be viewed as a cost-benefit analysis—considering the comparative cost of renovation vs. new construction in light of potential efficiency, including how staffing costs could be impacted over the long term.

Facilities Director Arel LeMaro, Sheriff Ken Lansing, Jail Captain Ray Bunce, and several members of the committee all observed that the condition of the current building and its systems must also be addressed as part of any renovation project—that the 40-year-old building is degrading with its systems badly in need of improvement.