Modesto firm gets contract for new jail

Union Democrat staff /

With a contract in place, much-needed repairs at the Tuolumne County Jail are moving forward.

The county last week awarded a $306,850 contract to Harris Builders of Modesto for major improvements to the jail. The project, which is expected to take about four months, will include replacement of sewer lines and drains, heating and ventilation upgrades, upgrades of floors and walls, and more.

Maureen Frank, deputy county administrator, said that 12 contractors showed interest in the project and three submitted bids. The money for the work - which was estimated to cost up to $400,000 - is already budgeted among this year's capital projects, she said.

Along with the work itself, the county will be paying about $300,000 to place some of the jail's inmates at Sierra Conservation Center during construction. Frank said the plan is to "get them in and out as quickly as possible."

Deterioration of the jail has been an ongoing concern for Tuolumne County, and local officials have been actively seeking outside funding to build a new one. The jail holds 140 people within about 31,000 square feet.

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