Madison County Jail

The Madison County Detention Center in Anderson was built in 1984 with a capacity of 207.

ANDERSON — Madison County has taken the first step toward a feasibility study for the construction of a new jail.

The Madison County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to hire Jack Krouse with Construction Control Inc. to be the county’s representative throughout the project.

“We needed some guidance on the jail feasibility study,” John Richwine, president of the Board of County Commissioners, said.

Krouse will be paid $200 per hour.

“It’s a most difficult process,” he said of building a new jail. “At this point you don’t necessarily know you need a jail, but it’s likely.”

Krouse said legislation passed by the Indiana General Assembly in 2018 requires counties to determine the construction, soft, bond reserve, operating and staffing costs.

“All that has to be computed in the bond,” he said.

Krouse said once that is completed the county has to hire an architect to design the facility.

He said it normally takes two years to complete the process of building a new jail.

Krouse said Jefferson County is constructing a 300-bed facility at a cost of $42 million. He said the cost to meet the state requirement was approximately $10,000.

Commissioner Kelly Gaskill, who voted no on the hiring, asked what Krouse’s job entails.

Krouse said he will put together the estimated costs of the jail project as required by state law.

“I will work on the financing with a bond counsel, work with the architect and make a public presentation,” he said. “We will then go to the (county) council for proposed funding.”

Krouse said he will monitor the construction of the new jail daily and approve any change orders that could affect the cost.

He said one of the first steps is to determine how many beds a new jail will have.

Gaskill said the commissioners should investigate Krouse’s company further before approving a contract.

“Any contract during construction should not exceed $16,500 per month,” she said.

Richwine said the intent is to start the process of completing a feasibility study in terms of the need for a new jail and the potential financial costs.

Madison County Sheriff Scott Mellinger has been requesting the feasibility study for more than a year.

He previously indicated the county needs a jail with 500 beds at an estimated cost of $50 million.

Mellinger said the cost of constructing a new jail is increasing annually.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.