Allen Parish set to break ground on new jail Thursday

By By Doris Maricle / American Press

OBERLIN — Allen Parish will break ground Thursday for construction of an $8.3 million parish jail.

“This is really a huge step forward for us in Allen Parish,” Sheriff Doug Hebert III said. “We are getting done what many

said would never be done. I am really looking forward to getting it built.”

The ceremony will be at 9 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 12, at the project site — 7340 La. 26, just west of Oberlin. An open house at

the current Sheriff’s Office administration building, at 601 Court St., will follow the ceremony.

The groundbreaking will signal the beginning of construction of the two-story facility, which is expected to be completed

in 10-14 months. A notice to proceed with construction is expected to be issued by Dec. 16, Hebert said.

“Hopefully this new facility will save

us money on what we have been spending on sending inmates out of parish

because we

will be able to put more people in jail,” he said. “Right now it

is a constant battle to try to keep and put people in jail.”

The new facility should also provide a cleaner, safer and sterile environment for the inmates.

Plans for the 36,000-square-foot facility include 136 general male population beds, 16 female beds, 24 lockdown cells and

three isolation cells. The jail will house 150-176 inmates, compared with the 42 who are housed in the current facility.

The new jail will also house the parish’s E-911 center and sheriff’s administrative offices on about six acres of the 40-acre

site. Additional land will be used for gardening, with plans to build shops and an inmate vocational training facility.

The Sheriff’s Office will build the

jail and lease it to the Police Jury for $250,000 a year, under an

agreement approved

earlier this year. The Police Jury will pay for insurance,

utilities and maintenance, with the Sheriff’s Office covering

administrative

costs.

The project is being funded by nearly $4 million in revenues from a gaming compact with the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana,

$5.5 million from the State Bond Commission and other funding sources.