County’s Needs Assessment to determine site of new jail

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Preliminary discussions for a new public safety facility in Grand County has begun.

According to County Manager Lee Staab, “A Public Safety Facility would include the county jail, sheriff offices, 911 call center and animal control.” He added that other functions could be considered.

The Grand Results strategic plan outlines the project’s completion in three years for 2021. The final design would need to be approved by December 2019 to begin construction in 2020.

According to Staab, “The intent is to have the same firm that is doing the needs assessment continue, once the needs assessment is done do the site location and the preliminary design, and follow that up with the construction management piece.” He identified a firm he wished to work with on the project, but noted he was accepting responses to RFQs (Request for Qualifications).

The RFQ for the Grand County Facilities Needs Assessment outlined operations to be studied as Public Health Department, Human Services Department, Emergency Medical Services, Road & Bridge Department, and Grand County Sheriff’s Office. Facilities to be included in the scope of the work were: Grand County Jail, Grand County Sheriff’s Office, Human Service Building(s), Public Health Building, and Emergency Medical Services Buildings.

Staab asked the Commissioners if their intent and vision included one location for the public safety facility and the health and human services facility. “The plats of land we are looking at right now all are large enough to do that,” said Staab. “When I spoke to the Town of Granby, and we looked at three locations within the town, the Town of Granby, as communicated by the Town Manager, said the direction that he had received from both the Mayor and the Chief of Police was to roll out the red carpet to do whatever they could to get the facility located within the Town of Granby.”

Grand County Undersheriff Wayne Schafer, the team leader for the Public Safety Facility, commented on the possibility of putting the jail in Granby. “Now we are just looking at the land itself more than the location because we are going to need a footprint that is big enough and may be too big to do next to the Courthouse…if we are going to do a detention center or anything like that.”

Inmates would need to be transported to the Judicial Center; however, Schafer commented with new technology prisoners may not need to be transported as much. He also commented that geographically it made sense to locate the new jail in Granby for the services provided such as electrical lines and sewer. It is also a centralized location, “It moves it more towards the center of the County,” he finished noting that they were keeping their options open.

County Attorney Bob Franek, reminded the Commissioners that statutorily the Sheriff’s office must remain in Hot Sulphur Springs.

In preparation for the Public Safety Facility, Staab reported the County met with a bond broker to understand the bond rating process to secure funding for the facility. “It is a tedious process to get a bond rating,” Staab commented. He has also consulted with the USDA for the possibility of funding.

Commissioner Kris Manguso publicly commented she was opposed to going into debt without it going to a vote of the people.

In a letter dated May 29, the Town of Hot Sulphur Springs Board of Trustees outlined its concerns regarding the lack of communication from the County. The letter states, “The Town of Hot Sulphur Springs has not been contacted by County Manager Staab or Undersheriff Schafer as to these details of the Grand County Strategic Plan that would involve relocating the existing jail facility from Hot Sulphur Springs.

Any information that can be provided on the future status of the Grand County Jail and/or status of any potential changes of location for Grand County buildings would be appreciated. The Town of Hot Sulphur Springs is proud to be the Grand County Seat and would experience a substantial loss in our revenues if this infrastructure was moved. Thank you for your time and consideration of this request.”

Staab replied to the letter, “In order to correctly identify the needs of the county and evaluate potential locations, the county will hire an outside consultant to conduct a ‘Needs Assessment.’ This needs assessment will both evaluate our current facilities and also evaluate potential locations for future critical county infrastructure. This needs assessment process will begin in the month of July and should take 90-120 days to complete.”

Staab later told the Grand Gazette, “No information has been developed as of this time, to include any cost estimates, spatial requirements, facility locations or funding strategies. We are only in the evaluation phase of this strategic result.”

Commissioner Merrit Linke said the discussion about the move to Granby was undecided in the June 4 meeting .

“This question is premature and no decision has been made, and it seems like it will probably end up staying here,” said Linke referring to Hot Sulphur Springs.

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