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In observance of the Presidents Day holiday, the Telegraph and Daily Gazette newspapers will not be published February 17. Breaking news and information will be updated on SaukValley.com.
Local

New jail comes in under budget

DIXON – The new Lee County Law Enforcement Center is coming in $800,000 under budget.

The 41,000-square-foot project at 240 E. Progress Drive includes a 96-bed jail, sheriff’s department, sally port and large storage garage. It replaces the 50-year-old jail at 122 W. Third Street, which has failed to meet jail standards for years.

The County Board capped the project budget at $18.5 million, and work is 99 percent complete with costs at about $17.7 million, said board member Bob Olson, chairman of the finance committee.

It’s being funded by the half percent sales tax increase voters approved in 2017, on the county’s second try for a referendum.

A lot of time and hard work has been put into the project, and it should be a point of pride for the county, Olson said.

“I think the county should be proud that it came in $800,000 under budget.”

The jail has six cell blocks, including dormitory-style housing and a mezzanine with an observation hallway with windows large enough to see both levels of cells. The cells and housing areas will allow the county to properly segregate different classes of inmates as well as meet medical and mental health needs.

The old jail hasn’t been able to house women for more than 2 years, and staff often had leaking water and sewage dripping from the ceiling in their offices.

There’s space set aside in the new facility for a library, church and educational purposes, and there’s a bit of room for expansion.

Staff moved into their new digs in October, and public tours took place last month, which also is when inmates were moved.

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