Ogle County breaks ground on a new multi-million dollar jail in downtown Oregon. The project is the latest step in the upgrade to county facilities.
The current jail is over 50 years old and in dire need of updates. Instead of fixing up the older building, officials are building a whole new one from the ground up and the years of planning are finally coming to fruition.
“Today’s actually is the culmination of several years of work to get this project underway,” Brian VanVickle, Ogle County Sheriff, said.
For the last four years, Ogle County Board members and law enforcement have been drawing out plans to build a new jail. Finally, those plans are becoming a reality with the official groundbreaking Ogle County Judicial Center Annex in Oregon.
“It’s going to allow us to house inmates in a much safer fashion,” VanVickle said. “Not only from the detention side, but also from the employees who can do their jobs in a much more efficient manner and do it in a much safer manner.”
VanVickle also said, “the facility that we’ve got right now is basically used its useful life and it’s costing us more to maintain it.”
The new jail, going up behind the courthouse, will be stocked with cutting edge safety technology and new facilities for inmate activities. Even though the building will be a jail, it won’t look like it from the outside.
“We didn’t want it to look like a jail in the middle of a community,” Kim Gouker, Ogle County Board Chairman, said. “We told people that when this building is finished it won’t even, when you drive by if you’re new in town, you wouldn’t even know it’s a jail.”
Building next door to the courthouse also makes bringing inmates to court dates much easier.
“Currently we do that through vans and we transport them around the block,” VanVickle said. “It requires more man power, it requires more time and so with this project we’ll be able to walk them through a secure corridor to court every day.”
The jail is the final step in a two decade county overhaul plan.
“When this project is over, Ogle County will have has rebuilt and rejuvenated all of their facilities for the next fifty to a hundred years,” Gouker said.
Constuction is expected to be done by December 2020. The county hopes to move in by March 2021.