New jail closes in on completion

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GREENFIELD — The new Hancock County Jail is set to be substantially completed by next week, though it won’t be ready for inmates to move in just yet.

Construction has been underway for over a year on the new building, located on 20 acres north of U.S. 40 between County Roads 400E and 500E. Now, only final details remain to be completed. The 110,000-square-foot, 450-bed facility will be a substantial step up for the county in terms of capacity and will resolve a longstanding problem with overcrowding at the existing jail and give the sheriff’s department space to explore new programs.

Sheriff Brad Burkhart said he is expecting to receive keys to the building and a temporary occupancy permit from the city of Greenfield early next week. The sheriff’s department won’t receive a full certificate of occupancy until all outdoor work on the property is completed, including landscaping and fencing.

A building inspector and fire marshal have finished walkthroughs of the building, and minor issues are being addressed by the architects, Burkhart said. An inspection of the building’s elevator is slated for today (Thursday, Dec. 2), followed by a final walkthrough to declare substantial completion on Friday, Dec. 3.

Burkhart said he’s still aiming to start relocating inmates in February 2022.

The new jail building includes an attached sheriff’s department office with its own entrance. It also has a doctor’s office and room for judges to conduct on-site hearings. There will be a conference room, a space for inmates to meet with attorneys, and room for in-person and virtual visits. Space for inmates is divided into three blocks for men and one for women, and there will be spaces dedicated to housing inmates focusing on drug or alcohol recovery.

The full cost of the project is estimated at $43 million.

The existing jail building will be repurposed to hold other county facilities, potentially including Hancock County Community Corrections and the probation department, after a renovation.

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