ACRJ getting closer to starting renovations
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A multi-million dollar renovation project at the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail is moving forward.
The jail will present a financial plan to hire its architect to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday.
"I don't care which angle you have. Either doing it for your community, for the inmates who live here, or the men and women who work here. But there's something in it for everybody," said Superintendent Martin Kumer.
He said the jail needs an update.
"We're trying to build a facility that's here for the next 50 years, and we've got to make substantial investments in that,” he said.
The oldest parts of the building are 50 years old. Even the newest parts of the jail were built 20 years ago.
"If we again do this lipstick on a pig, we're just kicking the can down the road. We either do this now, or we do it in a few years," Kumer said.
First, he wants to redesign inmate housing by making "them all ADA compliant, higher efficiency toilets and showers, more room, more privacy."
The second priority is to tear down the oldest part of the building and replace it entirely with "a designated family visitation area, professional visitation for attorneys and so forth, office space for staff, classrooms for inmates, outdoor recreation, and then a special management area for individuals who have specific needs that can't be addressed right away."
And lastly, Kumer said an overhaul of the HVAC system is vital.
"We need to make this place more efficient to operate. And for my staff, they need a safer, more efficient, healthier environment to work in," he said.
He added that all of the updates will help improve efforts to keep the inmate population down and keep people from coming back to jail.
"I am very happy that we're not spending money to add more beds to incarcerate more people. We can literally take that money and improve the conditions of the facility for our inmates, for our staff, for the community," Kumer said.
After an architect is hired, the jail will seek input from community members, jail staff, the jail board
authority and stakeholders in order to create a final design, hopefully, this summer.
Then Kumer said construction is estimated to take about 18 months.