January 25, 2016 Edition

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Builders add concrete blocks to a wall on the backside of the future Lawrence County Jail, which is now taking shape in Walnut Ridge.
TD Photo ~ John Bland

Walls rising on new LawCo. Jail

Exterior walls are now rising on the construction site for the new Lawrence County Jail. Smith-Doyle Contractors, Inc., of Cordova, Tenn., a part of SouthBuild Team of Tennessee, is contractor for the project. SouthBuild focuses on building rural detention facilities.

A tentative completion date was set for January 2018.

The jail is being built on county-owned land, the former Sloan Gin property, in Southwest Walnut Ridge and near the courthouse. Construction began Sept. 12.

The total cost to build the new jail was previously estimated to be $8.3 to $8.4 million.

The proposed jail and law enforcement facility is 20,000 square feet, which includes the sheriff's office and an arraignment room. It is designed to hold 100 prisoners and to be doubled in size, if needed.

In a November 2015 special election, Lawrence County voters approved a request for a half-cent sales tax to fund the construction and maintenance of the new jail.

Residents voted on two separate issues: a three-eighth of a cent tax to fund construction that would be collected for approximately 22 years and a one-eighth of a cent tax to fund maintenance that would not expire.

Voter totals on the three-eighths tax were 844 (59 percent) for and 597 (41 percent) against. On the one-eighth tax issue, the vote was 834 (58 percent) for and 611 (42 percent) against.

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