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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of June 4 - 10, 2003


Committee to study
new jail ‘developer’ proposals

Express Staff Writer

A 10-member committee composed of county residents and government figures has been formed to review proposals from five major firms asking to be considered as developers of a new Blaine County jail facility.

The group will meet at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, June 12, to organize and discuss how it will review proposals from the design-construction-finance groups.

Members of the study committee are County Commission Chairman Dennis Wright and Commissioner Sarah Michael; county clerk Marsha Riemann; chief deputy Gene Ramsey and deputy Greg Sage from the sheriff’s office; Gene Kirk, a financial consultant; Sun Valley Police Chief Cam Daggett, retired construction executive Jim Woodyard, and retired Ketchum city administrator Jim Jaquet.

The county has held three bond elections to obtain voter authority to build a new jail. Each time the bond issues were defeated.

So Blaine County Sheriff Walt Femling has proposed skipping public financing of a new jail and instead provide county land to allow a developer build the jail facility at its expense for lease to the county for up to 30 years, which is permitted under Idaho law. The facility would cost some $6.4 million, according to the sheriff.

The first step was taken when the county commission issued what is called a Request for Qualifications--literally, an invitation for firms to present their qualifications for being designated the developer of the jail.

Firms and their partners that have submitted elaborate presentations of their credentials and experience are L’Heureux Page Werner Inc., of Great Falls, Mont.; DLR Group, Seattle; Okland Construction in partnership with CRS Architects and DMJMH+N Architects, of Salt Lake City; Engelmann Inc., in partnership with Sahara Construction and Lombard-Conrad Architects, of Ketchum; and Edwards and Daniels Architects in partnership with Liebert Associates and Layton Construction, of Salt Lake City.

Sheriff Femling has told commissioners that by 2025 Blaine County will need a jail of probably 108 beds--compared to the current 28 beds in the main facility and 16 in an annex near Friedman Memorial Airport.

He has calculated the jail capacity based on an optimistic population forecast for Blaine County of 45,000 by 2025 and an average stay of prisoners of 10 to 12 days before being released or transferred to other facilities.

The current facility has been described by Femling as unsafe and insecure and literally rotting from age and requiring at least $250,000 in needed basic repairs. The jail’s limited capacity also makes it difficult to separate prisoners by severity of their crimes as well as segregating male and female prisoners.



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