Jail construction plans on track, under budget

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


With the tremendous response from contractors interested in the Henry County jail project this early on, John Hansen with Midwest Construction is confident they will get some good prices this time of year.

During the Board of Supervisors meeting on Thursday, Feb. 8, Hansen again went over the building plans for the new jail, saying that the project is close to $1 million under budget.

The basic footprint of the building, which was finalized in December, will remain the same throughout the blueprint and construction process. Hansen did say they are expanding the evidence storage room and adding a lactation room in the women?s locker room. The jail area will be 22-feet tall, which is a story and a half.

?Keep in mind we can change some of this stuff during construction too,? Hansen said. ?We?ll be working with [Sheriff Rich McNamee] and staff to see what works and what doesn?t.?

Most recently, they have received a secure door schedule, which Hansen has reviewed and sent to another contractor to look at to ensure they are meeting jail guidelines. He is working on getting people involved early in the project to ensure they are choosing the most cost-effective material.

Hansen received 60 to 70 percent of the final construction documents Friday, Feb. 9. He will meet with Supervisors again this week to review the estimate of probable cost.

Construction documents are expected to be finalized March 5, with the anticipated bid-letting date March 29. Hansen said that at this point, they are on track with construction plans.

?Once bid letting is done, we?ll know where we are financially,? Hansen added.

In a conversation with Mt. Pleasant Building and Zoning Administrator Jack Swarm, Hansen was informed that the city requires a sidewalk to be built congruent with the new jail. The city is willing to assist financially with the required walking trail through grants. The walking path would be along the west side of Grand Ave.

Supervisor Greg Moeller voiced concern about why the sidewalk was required when it wouldn?t lead anywhere. ?I don?t understand the premise of us having to put this in,? he said.

Hansen was unable to address Moeller?s concerns at this time because he has not formally met with Swarm.

?It?s a matter of working through those issues with [Swarm], and making sure we?re totally compliant,? Hansen said.

In other news, Main Street Mt. Pleasant presented their 2017 annual report. Main Street director Lisa Oetken reported another great year for the community, with five business expansions downtown, six new businesses, four new upper story housing units, and 19 markets on main. Over 4,300 people attended events and promotions last year, with 2,213 volunteer service hours.

Oetken voiced her concern, however, about the road construction coming to Jefferson St. this summer, saying that Main Street Mt. Pleasant is already working to do everything they can to keep business owners and downtown residents informed.

?It?s going to be a task, but we?re doing the best we can,? Oetken said, adding that they are getting ideas from other towns who have undergone construction for how to continue growth.

Main Street Mt. Pleasant is also continuing to work on developing upper story housing downtown. Mt. Pleasant is one of four finalists to be considered for CDBG Downtown Revitalization Fund in Iowa. Oetkin said that this could lead to a total of almost 70 apartment units.

?We get weekly calls from people needing places to live,? Oetkin said. ?That?s something we definitely want to get a grasp on.?