PASCAGOULA -- Construction has begun on the foundation of the new $27.6 million Jackson County jail, and the county has set the ground breaking ceremony for 10 a.m., Feb. 26.
The contractor is Caddell of Montgomery, Ala.
Passersby have noticed a whirlwind of activity at the site, which is just west of the existing jail along Telephone Road, near the north end of Market Street.
This week, the company has set up office trailers, placed silt screens to manage storm water erosion and completed drilling two test pilings for the foundation. There will be another 880 before the foundation preparation is complete.
The company used a huge auger to drill the test pilings 50 to 60 feet deep, then filled the hole with concrete and steel reenforcing.
Chris Lunsford, architect with the project, said that when load-bearing tests are complete, the contractor may be able to shorten the depth for the rest of the pilings and save the county some money.
The 104,000-square-foot building will take up most of the odd-shaped lot. The jail will be a pre-engineered metal building with pre-fabricated cells that lock individually. The entrance will be along Fair Street and there will be a brick facade at the entrance. Part of the building will be two-story. The jail will have 752 beds, with an option to add 60 more.
The project will employ 150 construction workers with a projected completion date of spring 2015.
The new jail has been two decades in coming. During that time, the existing jail, built in the 1970s, has been chronically overcrowded.
The latest setback was last summer, when county supervisors threw out construction bids and fired the architect. The Board of Supervisors hired Burk-Kleinpeter-Lunsford architects and engineers to take over the project, rebid and hired Caddell, the company that also was the low bidder last summer.