Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Justice Center Costs Questioned

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado — Critics of the recently approved, $24 million expansion of the county justice center are asking whether it really costs $435 per square foot to build a jail, and officials are saying, “Yes.”

County commissioner candidate Dick Gustafson said the cost for the project is “ridiculous,” and that other companies could build it for half the price.

General Steel, a Colorado company that sells pre-fabricated steel buildings, said it could do the project for half the price. Compared to other justice center projects of similar size and scope, Eagle County’s numbers are high, said a representative from the company.

Eagle County’s 50,000 square-foot expansion will cost about $435 per square foot for the jail portion and about $250 per square foot for the office portion. The improvements include 52 more jail beds, a new courtroom, a jury room and more office space.

“General Steel says they could built it for $11 million to $12 million, and two local architects have confirmed those numbers,” said Gustafson, who has been a vocal opponent of the project.

The company has built eight other justice center or jail projects, most of which were in Colorado. It’s most recent project was for a 52,000-square-foot renovation and construction of the jail, courts and sheriff’s offices in Phelps County, Neb., completed in 2004, similar to Eagle County’s project.

The expansion cost $4.8 million, averaging $156 per square foot.

Best price, county says
However, Eagle County officials said their numbers were the result of a public bid process that took into account both cost and qualifications of the companies.

The costs the county settled on were reviewed and approved as reasonable by an independent consultant, said County Manager Bruce Baumgartner.

Jail construction is extremely specialized and not like building a regular building, said County Project Manager Rick Ullom — everything from the toilet seats to the plumbing to the walls are unique.

County officials said they met with General Steel and showed them the Justice Center plans, but the company declined to bid on the project.

“They said it was beyond what they could handle,” Baumgartner said. “No one has shown us a cheaper design or a cheaper building. If someone has an allegedly cheaper plan, they should produce it so we have the opportunity to incorporate any good ideas.”
Vail Daily


Anonymous said...

I doubt your Mr. Baumgartner is qualified to look at a jail plan and say this is a good price???
My suggestion would be to take another look at, Do we really need to do this??? There are changing times coming soon, (a huge depression)and there will be a huge drop in county revenue. Dont you people relize the federal government is already broke and trillions of dollars in debt.
Wouldnt it be better to go back to the old way, only lock up those committing violent crimes!!! The rest give them a summons and have them appear in court as in the past years. Quit listening to the Judges and all the idiot attorneys on how to run your county, state government as well. Its all about money, public safety isnt an issue with non violent offenders. djw

Anonymous said...

The county can take a lead from the state, who could not find anyone to build a prison, so they took it upon themselves to illegally borrow money, constructed it themselves, and have over-run the cost by 62%. To top it off, that prison is not needed.

Anonymous said...