County to Build New Jail and Law Enforcement Center
A multi-phased jail and law enforcement center will serve the expanding needs of Wright County, MN. The new facility will be located on 89 acres of undeveloped land in the City of Buffalo, near Minneapolis/St. Paul. The first phase of construction is slated for completion in 2009 and expected to include a 260-bed jail, law enforcement center, and sheriff’s offices.
Captain Gary Torfin, Wright County’s jail administrator, notes that the new facility is a first priority of the county’s overall, long-range planning program to better serve its 17 cities and 18 townships. “We’re not looking to rush the design and construction. We want a facility that’s going to work for us and gives us plenty of room for expansion. Our growth has been phenomenal.”
“As one of Minnesota’s fastest growing counties and largest sheriff’s offices, the current operational needs exceed the space available within the existing downtown government center,” explains KKE’s Randy Lindemann, AIA. For more than 18 years, Lindemann and his colleagues at KKE have studied, planned and designed justice and correctional facilities across the country.
For Wright County to get the most value out of each square foot of land and building, the site calls for careful land development, road access, building orientation, utility connections and other infrastructure.
“It’s a good site selection,” says Torfin. “It gives us the capacity to grow. It’s adjacent to our highway department. It’s contiguous to the current city lines. It’s not land-locked.” Although it is situated on a gravel reserve, requiring mining operations to take place prior to construction.
KKE Architects has been selected to design the facility.
The new law enforcement center will house the sheriff’s administrative, patrol and communications functions, and the jail. The jail can be configured to hold up to 450 inmates with double-bunking and features core services to support as many as 600 with future expansion.
“KKE is helping us make sure we provide for our current needs and plan for those needs in the future,” says Torfin. Among these needs, he mentions the ability to safely monitor and manage inmates’ physical and mental health, and video visitation technologies for secure legal and personal communication.
Along with these modernized efficiencies of the new jail, Wright County will once again be able to house its inmates in one facility, minimizing transportation and boarding costs. Torfin elaborates, “The current jail was supposed to carry us through to 2012, but we are unable to gain beds in any cost-effective manner and have been boarding prisoners for several years already.”
In 2005, the current Wright County Jail logged more than 5,400 bookings. In 2003, the jail implemented a $10 booking fee and a $20 per diem to offset some of the costs associated with incarceration.
Other members of the Wright County project team include: KKE’s project architect Carey Ottman Everson, AIA, and project manager Clifford Buikema, AIA; land development by Damon Farber Associates, civil engineering by Anderson-Johnson Associates, Inc; mechanical and electrical engineers EDI, electronic and detention equipment from Arnold and O’Sheridan, food service design by Robert Rippe & Associates, and law enforcement planning by John Milosovich.