Commissioners tour jail facility

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

After a brief regular meeting Thursday, Roosevelt County Commissioners got a tour of the addition to the Roosevelt County Detention Center and had lunch at the facility.

Commissioners approved construction in the spring to alleviate overcrowding.
According to RCDC Administrator Jesse Luera, construction progress on the $3.3 million facility had been tracking slightly ahead of schedule until recently when problems with the electrical system and getting roofing materials cropped up. He said construction is still on track for a mid-July completion despite those problems.

Earlier in the day Luera reported to commissioners he had 71 prisoners in the facility, a number that was down from recent months but still crowded. The facility was designed to house 48 prisoners, but is currently certified for 72 beds.

“Our numbers are down,” Luera said. “We’re hoping to keep it that way because we need the break.”

Luera said the facility topped out this summer at 113 inmates and has been averaging 75 to 95. The expansion will add 72 beds and provide for a total of 146 beds once the old facility is remodeled, according to Luera.

Commissioners first toured the new facility and several remarked they were impressed with the size of the addition. Later they were taken through the current facility for a look at the conditions.

“I think it’s going to be great,” Commissioner David Sanders said. “Just looking at the plans, I had no idea it was going to be that big.”

Sanders expressed concern about the crowding and conditions, but said he was glad to be getting more room as well as an exercise area for the inmates.

“That little jail wasn’t built for that many people,” Sanders said.

The contractor selected by commissioners for the job was Wilson and Wilson Contractors.

“There is a definite need for it (RCDC addition), and it gives us a little room to grow,” Luera said. “It’ll be saving the county money in the long run.”

In other business commissioners:

• Approved the annual Sole Community Hospital Payment Request in the amount of $77,500. That payment will leverage state funding for Roosevelt General Hospital of slightly more than $1 million. The funds help to reimburse the hospital for patients unable to pay for service.

• Awarded a contract from low-bidder Curry County Crushing for on-site caliche rock crushing. The bid was for 15,000 yards at $41,250.

• Turned down bids for an addition to the Roosevelt County Extension office because all were more than the money available.

• Approved a resolution authorizing a loan through the New Mexico Finance Authority to provide for heating and cooling improvements at the courthouse.