Construction on McDonald county jail completed a year after its expected completion date

County commission says number of factors to blame
Construction on McDonald county jail completed a year after its expected completion date
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A two million dollar project in McDonald County, Missouri just wrapped up — a year after it was originally expected to.

Construction to expand the McDonald county jail started in 20-16, with plans to build onto the jail to house the sheriff’s office and double inmate capacity.

McDonald county sheriff Mike Hall says so far expansions at the jail are making operations easier on a day to day basis.

Mike Hall, McDonald County Sheriff:”Before if a female had a problem with another female, we only had one pod with a couple lock down cells. now we’ve got a full day room, plus we have eight lock down cells for them.”

Now that renovations are complete, the jail has double the number of beds.. 64 instead of only 32.. and almost 50 cameras.. making the jail much more secure.

But it’s been a long road to get to this point.

John Bunch, McDonald County Commission: “It was actually well underway in 2016.. completion date was gonna be in November of 2017.. and of course we just finished it last month, at the end of the month.”

McDonald County Commissioner John Bunch says there’s a number of factors that caused construction to wear on.

One factor was unforeseen complications when renovating the existing part of the jail.

All of the wiring and much of the plumbing had to be replaced. Inmates also continued to damage the jail — all of which had to be repaired before construction to move on.

Bunch:”You never really know what you’re getting into until you open it up and see what you have to deal with.”

But, Bunch says the general contractor — Morton Construction out of Morton, Illinois — was responsible for making sure the project stayed on time and on track.

Bunch:”It was their obligation to oversee the project.. it was their obligation to make sure the sub contractors were brought in the right order. so, I don’t really.. you’d almost have to ask them why the project went so long over. “

Bunch says the commission is now looking at what action they can take to recoup some of the money that was spent on the project.

Bunch:”We tried to stay in contact with the general contractor.. we tried. It would have been tremendously more expensive to rebid it. To have one contractor start, and then pull that contractor and bring in another contractor.. it’s almost guaranteed you’re gonna go well over your budget. We tried every possible way not to have that happen.”

Zach Dodge, Reporting:”Are you guys happy with how it turned out?”

Bunch:”That’s a.. that’s kind of a tough one. Right now, there are some things that still like to have changed. But, the main thing right now is security.. and I think we have a much more secure facility now than we’ve ever had.”

The commission would still like to redo the parking lot at the jail.. which will be a separate expense from the renovations.

We have reached out to Morton Construction (on 1-7-19) — and are waiting for a response from the company.