SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The public was invited to take a tour of Greene County’s new $150 million jail and sheriff’s office facility Friday, May 13th. 

The events began in the jail’s Sally Port, where dozens gathered as The Grand Masonic Lodge of Missouri dedicated a cornerstone. 

Freemasons often honor newly constructed government buildings with cornerstones, typically on the structure’s northeast corner. The long-standing history dates back to President George Washington laying the cornerstone of the White House in 1792.

The Posting of the Colors was conducted by the Greene County Sheriff’s Honor Guard, while the Willard High School Choir sang several patriotic songs, and Willard South Elementary students recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

The facility will be able to hold 1,242 inmates, as well as bring all Greene County Sheriff’s Office staff under one roof for the first time in 40 years. 

“We’ve been housed anywhere that would give us an office space, so you don’t have the close working relationship that you would when you work in one facility,” Sheriff Jim Arnott told OzarksFirst. “Now we’re all together.”

Construction of the facility was funded through a general revenue half-cent sales tax Greene County voters approved in 2017. 

The County Commission settled on a design recommended by the Sheriff’s Advance Team that would save in staffing costs and provide a location with space for future growth away from the downtown area.

Greene County Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon boasted Friday the project was completed on time and under its allocated $150 million budget.

“It’s a major accomplishment We got the timing really just right because we didn’t into cost overruns or delays. Everything was done on time and under budget,” says Dixon. 

“The new facility will not only increase the safety of the citizens of Greene County but will drastically help with the overcrowding of inmates we have in our current facility,” added Sheriff Arnott. 

The Greene County Commission says final preparations are being made for staff and inmates to permanently move to the new Jail’s location at 5100 W. State Highway EE in Springfield, later this summer.

Dixon tells OzarksFirst that a proposal for what could be housed in the current Greene County Jail building in downtown Springfield will be announced in the coming weeks.