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Design process has started for potential new jail in Midland

Midland County Commissioners are discussing the 16-month design process, searching for a contractor and finding a good, reliable water source.

MIDLAND, Texas — Conversations surrounding the potential new jail in Midland continued Monday at Midland County Commissioners Court. Public Works Director Andrew Avis addressed Commissioners on progress with the design process of the jail.

“Where we are right now is we’ve begun the design process," said Avis. "It's a 16 month process to get to the point where we can actually build the jail, but in that we also need to get a contractor on board to help with constructability concerns and budgeting, so when it does come time to build we have a good plan."

Along with finding a contractor, it’s also of major importance for the county to find a good water supply for the jail.

“Having a water supply plan prior to starting construction is paramount," said Avis. "If we don’t have a solid plan for a robust, and secure, and reliable water supply, then having a jail facility is a moot point. We have to figure that out now."

The estimated price of the jail is still pending, but the contract with the architect designing it is approximately $7.5 million.

“It’s important before we start construction that the county knows exactly what its guaranteed maximum price is, and we have some assurances that once we budget for this large project that it’s not gonna grow uncontrollably, it can be controlled throughout the process,” said Avis.

With Midland growing, Avis said this potential new jail will be needed sooner rather than later.

“It’s a public safety service," said Avis. "And Midland County and the City of Midland are growing. And we have a jail that is fine, is good, it serves us well, but the Texas Commission on Jail Standards has very specific requirements that we have to meet. And as we grow, we’re going to outgrow that building, and if we wait till we’re outgrown, then we’ll have a problem. If we can go get in front of it, we could stay in front of the Jail Commission and our state requirements."

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