PELL CITY — The new St. Clair County Jail in Pell City got an important addition this week, jail cells.
Beginning Tuesday, workers at the jail began to place prefabricated jail cells into the foundation of the new facility. Jason Goodgame, who serves as construction manager on the project, said the cells come completely prefabricated with beds, sinks, toilets, a window and a door. He said the prefabricated cells were chosen to allow for quick installation.
“That's kind of a step we took to pick up the pace,” Goodgame said, explaining that the idea is to install the cells and then essentially build the building around them.
He said the cells include everything they would need, down to plumbing and electronics so it's really a matter of connecting the cells to the eventual systems within the jail. As a time-saving measure, Goodgame said the pre-made cells have likely saved the project two or three months of work.
He said that next steps will be to pour concrete slabs before hopefully starting on steel work before the end of February.
Goodgame said the project was bid in eight separate packages, with each package looking at the different stages going from initial site work to the completed jail.
“We phase bid the project to get the timeline we were looking for,” he said.
Goodgame said the jail is looking for a completion date of March 2023, but stressed that there are several stages to go.
“It's a really complex project,” he said.
The plan is for the jail to house 323 inmates, far more than the 120 to 140 the former Pell City facility could house. Goodgame said the hope is to make that possible without St. Clair County Sheriff’s office needing to raise its staffing level. He said one way the county is looking to do that is through technological integration throughout the facility.
“The technology of this is a bigger piece of this than people would expect,” Goodgame said, adding that after the jail is finished guards will be able to manage lights, cameras, doors and even water flow from a central location.
Sheriff Billy Murray said the system will be state of the art.
“This facility will have every technological tool in it to maintain a safe facility,” he said.
Murray said after the jail is complete, his office intends to have a brief period focused on training before fully opening the facility.
Goodgame said he is pleased with the progress of the jail so far, a sentiment the Sheriff echoed.
“I’m extremely pleased with the progress we’ve made on the construction of the jail,” Murray said.