Jeff Davis Parish jail delayed by construction again

<p>Jeff Davis Parish District Attorney Michael Cassidy, center, and Police Jury President Donald Woods, left, check out a cell in the new $9.4 million regional jail facility under construction in Jennings. </p>Doris Maricle

<p class="p1">JENNINGS — Jeff Davis Parish’s new $9.4 million regional jail was to open earlier this month, but construction delays continue to put the project behind.

<p class="p1">“They are still doing a lot of work and are not finished,” Police Jury President Donald Woods said Wednesday.

<p class="p1">“I have not been out there to find out how much they are behind. Our contractor and engineer were out there today, but have not reported back yet.”

<p class="p1">The jail was to be completed in early 2018, but unforeseen circumstances — weather issues, delayed equipment delivery, relocation of a fence, and driers that won’t fit through the doors — have hindered completion.

<p class="p1">Police jurors this week approved a ninth change order for the jail, in the amount of $3,482, for installing electrical wiring for the gate. The wiring wasn’t put in the original contract, Woods said.

<p class="p1">Police Jury attorney David Bruchhaus said the panel won’t accept the project as substantially complete for occupancy until everything is completed to satisfaction per the contract.

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<p class="p1">The parish may have the option to withhold a retainage fee until the project is certified as substantially complete by the architect and engineer.

<p class="p1">Construction on the 31,000-square-foot facility began shortly after groundbreaking in July 2016.

<p class="p1">The new jail, on a 17.5-acre site off U.S. 90 just west of Jennings, will have 200 beds, a central control room, separate recreation yards for male and female inmates, isolation cells and a vehicular sally port.

<p class="p1">Plans for the facility are based on a 2012 feasibility study that called for the replacement of the current 65-bed parish jail, which officials said is undersized, outdated and in need of costly repairs.

<p class="p1"><strong>‘They are still doing a lot of work and are not finished.’</strong>

<p class="p3"><strong>Donald Woods</strong>

<p class="p4">Jeff Davis Police Jury president