Greene County pens land deal for new jail

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The Greene County Commission entered a deal to buy 23 acres in northwest Springfield for the site of a new jail and sheriff operations.

The county expects to complete the $679,545 deal with SCI Missouri Funeral Services Inc. by year’s end. At Division Street and Haseltine Road, the acreage is east of White Chapel Cemetery and south of the Springfield-Branson National Airport, according to a news release.

“A great deal of hard work and due diligence has been conducted to get to this point,” Greene County Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon said in the release. “The citizens of Greene County can be proud that a suitable location has been determined to best use the funds and resources we have been entrusted with to make this project a reality for the community.”

A groundbreaking could come by spring 2020 for the planned jail with beds not to exceed 1,407. Completion is slated for 2022.

It would be a relocation for the current jail, at 1000 Booneville Ave., which has faced overcrowding problems in recent years. Springfield Business Journal previously reported that officials estimated a $59 million jail expansion cost; the estimated cost of the new jail was not included in the release.

The project in northwest Springfield also would mean a consolidation of most of the Greene County Sheriff Office’s operations into one campus, according to the release.

Built in 2001, the current jail is built to house 708 inmates. However, it has held as many as 960 inmates.

County officials say a new jail at the current site in central Springfield would be too cost-prohibitive in terms of materials and would have required an eight-story structure.

“We continue to work to develop a jail that meets our short and long-term needs and very much look forward to a state-of-the-art design that provides efficient use of the space and manpower,” Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott said in the release.

County officials expect the new jail would result in $95 million in staffing cost savings over the next 20 years because not as many people would be needed, according to the release.