SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– A new jail is in the middle of construction just west of Springfield on Division Street near the Springfield-Branson National Airport.
Currently, the jail is only about 40% complete, and one of the project leaders, Captain David Johnson, says the construction is ahead of schedule. Once construction is complete, it will be over 380,000 square feet.
Capt. Johnson explained the new building will put all the Sheriff’s office staff under one roof. The size of the facility will also help solve an overcrowding problem which has been an issue in the current jail for years.
“The problem with the downtown campus is that we were landlocked, and there’s just no space. Right now we have 1,242 beds built into the facility. We have the ability to replicate another 12 beds of 56 beds each if we have funding going on in the future,” says Capt. Johnson.
That means the jail will be able to house double the inmates of the current one, and add another 672 cells later on if needed. However, it’s the functionality and aesthetic of the new facility that is a major improvement.
“I don’t know that anybody likes jails, but they are a necessary part of government,” said Kevin Barnes, Director of Resource Management for the County. “We wanted this to be a nice facility, we wanted to be a good neighbor, fit in the neighborhood. So we made this look like the industrial buildings around us. We put a pretty face on the front office.”
“We actually toured a lot of facilities that weren’t set up very well. We took those back as tools to utilize for the design of this facility,” says Capt. Johnson.
Overseeing jail pods will require less staff and the building will have an improved medical site. There will also be less movement of inmates between locations as video court appearances can be done remotely inside the jail.