Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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The public got its first chance to get an up close look at the new Alexander County Sheriff's Office and Detention Center in Taylorsville Saturday.
"This has been needed for more than 20 years," said Sheriff Chris Bowman.
The new facility, which costs eight point one million dollars, will more than quadruple the jail space and double the size of the Sheriff's Office.
Currently, the jail downtown has beds for just 26 inmates, and only males an be housed there. It has meant that all females and a number of male inmates have had to be shipped to counties that had extra space.
"It costs us more than $400,000 a year to do that," said Bowman.
The new jail will have space for 165 inmates, both male and female. Officials hope to rent out what beds Alexander County is not using to other counties and the state of North Carolina.
"They are overcrowded and need beds," said Chief Deputy Todd Jones.
Officials believe the new facility can generate more than half a million dollars a year by renting space out. That, combined with the savings for not shipping inmates out will pay a large chunk of the debt service on the new building, said officials.
The plan is to pay off the facility in 15 years.
Enough property was acquired at the site, said County Commissioner W. Darrell Robertson, to expand the jail if need be in the future.
Finishing touches are underway at the facility and operations and inmates are expected to move into the building sometime in January.