County Commission Discusses Current Jail Building

During a work session held Wednesday morning, the Bourbon County Commission discussed how the current jail building will be used once the inmates and Sheriff’s Department moves to the new law enforcement center later this year.

“We’ve got to get this going,” commissioner Nick Ruhl said. “October will be here before you know it.”

A number of county employees attended the work session to share ideas on how the building could be utilized.

Commissioners first mentioned that moving the offices currently on the second floor, including the treasurer’s and clerk’s offices, could be moved to that first floor area so members of the public would not have to climb the stairs to the second floor. The second floor could then be used by the county attorney, making the second and third floors used only by the judicial system, and thus more easily secured.

Further discussion revealed that plan could end up being costly, as walls would have to be added in those second floor offices to accommodate the attorney’s staff, which currently works out of a separate building across the street from the courthouse.

Instead, the commissioners decided it made more sense to have the attorney’s office move directly into the old jail, where the rooms are already arranged to serve as offices, storage rooms, the law library and a conference area.

“It shouldn’t take a lot of money,” commission chairman Lynne Oharah said, adding the area would likely only need paint and new carpet.

Other options that arose during the work session, some of which could be done in conjunction with the attorney’s move, included turning portions of the old jail into storm shelters. Certain office areas may also be available to lease, such as to the city codes and community correction departments, who have already expressed interest. The building could also be sold entirely.

In upcoming weeks and months, the commission will continue to listen to ideas and begin to form a plan for how the building will be used. The remaining funds from the tax increase for the law enforcement center project are to be used to fund those changes and other courthouse improvements.

Regardless of how it is used, the commissioners said they will likely save money by not having to use the utilities in that building all the time as they did when housing inmates. They also plan on closing off that entrance for security purposes and repairing the east entrance to make it handicap accessible.

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