Study of Clark County Jail offers good news, warnings

first_imgClark County Jail is in need of expansion and serious renovations in order to remain viable, but, in some ways, the 33-year-old facility is in surprisingly good shape.That was the conclusion of a much-anticipated consultant’s study on the jail that was presented at a Clark County work session on Wednesday. Last year, the county approved a $300,000 contract with the DLR Group, a facilities consulting firm with offices in Portland and Seattle, to determine what sort of upgrades, remodeling and expansions the jail will require to remain functional.The consultants projected that if the county followed best practices, it would need to add up to 467 new jail beds in the next 20 years and allow the facility to nearly triple in size.But what’s there now, while cramped, is holding up well, they said.“As a whole, we’re actually very surprised by the physical assessment,” Bill Valdez, a principal of the firm, told the council and staff. “Your big-dollar items … are performing very well, but there is still quite a bit of deferred maintenance as well as other upgrades that would be needed just to be able to make the current jail operational for a set period of time.”Valdez told the council the jail’s parking lot falls in the “performing well” column, as do the groundwater and stormwater systems.But, he added, the list of items in need of repair or replacement includes parts of the jail’s HVAC, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. Valdez also said the county needs to replace the jail’s doors, which he said manufacturers no longer make and have been kept workable by fabricating or finding spare components.last_img