Officials break ground on new Creek County Justice Center

Friday, June 6th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SAPULPA, Okla. (AP) -- Officials estimate it will take about 500 days for construction to be completed on the new $7.5 million Creek County Justice Center.

With heavy equipment leveling ground nearby, officials broke ground Thursday at the Otis Rule Industrial Park north of Sapulpa, where the jail is being built.

Sheriff Steve Tolliver said the jail would replace a crowded 120-bed jail that has plagued the county for years.

Tolliver credited a residents' group for exploring the need for a jail and pushing a county penny sales tax to pay for it. Voters approved the tax in November 2001.

But when 15 companies bid on it, nearly all bids were below the architect's estimate of $9 million to $10 million, County Commissioner Dana Hudgins said.

The lower bids allowed the authority to increase the jail capacity to 300 beds from an original 228-bed capacity. Lambert Construction Co. of Stillwater was awarded the $7.4 million contract in May.

The current jail was built in 1973 next to the county courthouse and couldn't be remodeled to hold the extra prisoners, said Dick White, chairman of the Creek County Public Facilities Trust Authority, which is overseeing the jail.

The county was forced to build a new jail after the state Department of Health threatened to close the existing jail, which is overcrowded.

White said some area homeowners protested because they thought the jail would be built close to old Sapulpa Road.

The new jail is a half-mile from any residence and two miles from any school, he said.

The current jail will be remodeled into offices for the sheriff's department, said Ben Graves of Architects in Partnership, a Norman firm.