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A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Douglas County Jail took place Monday morning. Participating in the traditional shovel throw included (left to right) Michael Filippi, Integrity Group Inc.; Jerry Johnson, Bev Bales, Dan Olson and Norm Salto, Douglas County commissioners; Brad Lake and Jackie Notch, Douglas County Sheriff's Office; Paul Anderson, Douglas County commissioner; Troy Wolbersen, Douglas County sheriff; and Larry Filippi, Integrity Group Inc. Echo Press photo by Celeste Beam

Ground breaks for new Dougals County jail

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The ground was broken Monday morning on a project that has been in the works for several years.

The traditional groundbreaking ceremony took place for the Douglas County Jail at its new site along 3rd Avenue West - where Douglas County Public Works used to be - with Douglas County commissioners and representatives from Contegrity Group, Inc., the construction management firm working on the project.

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"I am glad this project is finally under way," said Bev Bales, Douglas County board chair, "It can be put to rest for now and we [the commissioners] can work on other issues."

Bales expects the new jail - a $12.9 million project - to open sometime in 2010. She said the project is on schedule and expects it to continue moving forward as smoothly as possible.

She noted how pleased she was with the cost of the project and that it "saved taxpayers millions of dollars."

Back in March, the board sold bonds in the amount of $12.9 million, plus the cost to issue the bonds, which was a savings of nearly $3 million from the final projected cost of $15.76 million.

As for the existing jail sites, Bales said she's not exactly sure what will happen with the jail annex, which is located in the old Central School on 7th Avenue East between Douglas and Elm Streets. She expects that it will be refurbished and put to use for county purposes.

The main jail, which is located between 7th and 8th Streets on Elm Street, will be refurbished and most likely used for programming for the inmates, as well as holding for courts, according to Bales.

The new Douglas County Public Works facility is now located at its new site, at 526 Willow Drive in Alexandria.

Besides a new location, the public works department also has a new phone number - (320) 762-2999.

An open house has been scheduled for the county's new public works building. It will take place Thursday, July 30 from 3 to 7 p.m.

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