Archive for Wednesday, April 4, 2007

LvCo projects are under way

April 4, 2007

Two major projects are under way at the Leavenworth Justice Center: renovations to its basement and the expansion of the county jail's closed-circuit television system.

On Tuesday, the Leavenworth County Commission met with Dan Rowe of Treanor Architects and Sheriff's Office representatives to discuss the progress of renovations in the basement of the center, where, currently, old files for the county attorney, district court, Leavenworth Police Department, sheriff's office and other organizations are stored.

According to existing plans, the files will be moved next door to the old jail, an approximately 80-year-old building that first must receive a facelift, including a new roof and fairly extensive mechanical, electrical and plumbing work, before housing any new materials for long-term storage.

"We have a place to do the jail expansion," Sheriff David Zoellner said. "And, obviously, the stuff there now needs to come out."

Rowe said the bidding process for the old jail phase of the project will commence shortly and that if demolition and cleanup proceeds quickly, the second phase in the Justice Center's basement can move forward promptly as well.

Rowe estimated the Justice Center's renovations would cost between $400,000 and $500,000. They will include a completely refurbished kitchen, a new work release area and a new trusty area. The project will give the county a higher inmate capacity, allowing the jail to house inmates from neighboring counties and prisons, Zoellner said.

Commissioner Clyde Graeber made clear the work would be paid out of funds still on hand from the prior sales tax initiative in 2006 and not from current sales tax funds.

The second project at the center will add 32 video recording and eight audio surveillance devices to the county jail's closed circuit television system.

The expansion will allow operators to record activities in key areas of the jail that previously lacked camera coverage, including the intake area, where, according to Zoellner, suspects often inadvertently incriminate themselves.

"Previously if an event occurred, we had no way to replicate that event," Undersheriff Ron Cranor said Monday. "We had no electronic monitoring of suspects after they left the patrol car all the way to the booking area. ... Now it's documented. If it can be used for prosecution, that's great."

The improvements were funded through the sheriff's capital outlay budget in 2005 and 2006.

In other business Tuesday, the commission:

  • Unanimously approved the purchases of a $1,600 laptop for the commission and a $2,000 workstation and scanning equipment for the deputy county clerk from the capital equipment reserve budget.
  • Approved, 3-0, the addition of a part-time, clerical position for the Women, Infant and Children's Department.

Coordinator Karen Savage said the position would increase the department's caseload.

"(By federal regulations) we need to meet with a pregnant person within 10 days," she said, "and we're not meeting that because we don't have enough staffing."

  • Unanimously approved a special-use permit for Donald and Nancy Haus to operate a small, home business dealing in alpaca-related items on their property just east of 163rd Street in Stranger Township.

The Hauses, who moved to the area from Ohio in mid-January, want to use the wool from their alpacas, which are domesticated animals resembling llamas or sheep, to make fleece, yarn and teddy bears.

  • Unanimously approved the preliminary and final plats submitted by John and Barbara Jasper for an approximately 30-acre tract of land on the south side of Cantrell Road, a half-mile west of 182nd Street.

John Jasper said he wanted to split the land into two lots and build an additional house on the property.

  • Unanimously approved the preliminary and final plats for a 20-acre property owned by Scott and Collette Ward on the west side of 170th Street, just north of Kreider Road.

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