The Thurston County Law Enforcement Center is on pace to house its first prisoners on March 1, and the $5.9 million project is going to be open for public tours and viewing on Saturday, Feb. 17.
A ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for 2 p.m. with a program to follow at 2:30 p.m., including remarks from District 17 state senator Joni Albrecht. The open house is going to be a rare opportunity for the public to see the building prior to use.
The 18,847-square-foot facility will have 34 total beds, up from the current jail’s 25. It will also employ 13 full-time and two part-time staff, up from eight full-time and one part-time jailers.
The new facility will house the sheriff’s office and will eventually house communications, including 911 dispatch.
The facility serves Thurston County, but also has long term relationships with Cuming and Wayne Counties, as well regularly will house prisoners from Burt, Stanton and Dixon Counties.
The design of the facility will allow for expansion someday if demand exists for it. There is also space available to add on a courtroom or other county offices down the road if that ever makes sense.
Sheriff Shelly Perez said it’s been a long wait as the facility rose from the ground and has moved toward being ready for business, but it’s been worth it.
“I’m happy that we got this facility and it will decrease the possibilities of liability to the county,” Perez said. “It’s more secure, we can classify our inmates by their offenses, and my staff has done great as far as helping to get up and running.”
The facility has already been approved and certified by Nebraska Jail Standards and will be ready to house its first prisoners.