The Winnebago County Public Safety Center got its chance in the limelight on Saturday before it gets down to the business of providing safety to area citizens in both Winnebago and Hancock Counties. The public was invited to a tour of the facility, a reception, and a presentation.
The center was approved by voters over a year ago and addresses an urgent need in both the Winnebago and Hancock County areas. For Winnebago County, it was to replace an aging jail built in 1934 that is now deemed unsafe and grossly inadequate by the Iowa State Jail Inspector. The current facility would have been shut down and prisoners would have been transferred to other counties at great taxpayer expense. With the new facility, the county will save tremendous amounts of tax dollars while receiving payments from other counties for housing their inmates.
John Hansen of Midwest Construction Consultants saw the project from prior to voter approval, all the way to construction completion. Hansen said that the voters got what they paid for and at a cost less than most other jails currently under construction today.
A similar sized jail in southern Iowa is currently being bonded and bid out at nearly $22 million, but the Winnebago Public Safety Center was less than $5 million.
The county went to great lengths to make sure that local consideration was given first for the construction of the facility. Hansen was impressed with the quality and efficiency of each of the local contractors used in the project.
No official move in date has been set as that will be determined by Sheriff Peterson and the state, however Hansen said that for the most part, the facility is about ready.
The facility is expected to last anywhere from 80 to 100 years if well maintained. According to Supervisor Terry Durby, this is a much needed addition to the county and the area.
Supervisor Mike Stensrud addressed the crowd that had assembled to tour the facility. He complimented everyone involved on the work involved in getting the project done.
A special plaque (pictured in our headline image) will be placed at the jail honoring not only the contractors, County Supervisors, County Auditor Karla Weiss, Sheriff Dave Peterson, and all others who were involved, but also the late Supervisor Willie Wubben who was a part of the inception of the project.