If you want the chance to tour the new Greene County Jail, Friday morning may be your best chance.
The Greene County Commission and the Greene County Sheriff’s Office host a public dedication ceremony for the $150 million, 325,000-square foot building that sits on 23 acres of land south of the Springfield-Branson National Airport. The dedication will take place at 9 a.m. May 13, with public tours following from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to an advisory from the Greene County Commission.
The dedication event will include speeches from Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon and Sheriff Jim Arnott, a Masonic procession, contributions from high school JROTC cadets and a band and the placement of the building’s cornerstone.
The public may enter the jail complex from the entrance at 1199 North Haseltine Road.
DeWitt and Associates and J.E. Dunn Construction are the managers at risk for the jail project, which means they have a set budget and timeline to follow in order to avoid footing the bill for any overages, with some legally-protected exceptions.
The new jail will have 1,242 inmate beds on the day it opened, up from about 990 beds at the old jail.
The new sheriff’s office is also part of the new facility, and it will take up 62,000 square feet. A separate building for training, evidence storage and patrol vehicle outfitting and maintenance is also on site at the new campus.
In November 2017, voters in Greene County approved a ½-cent sales tax increase that was initially projected to generate more than $25 million per year. The list of projects that the Greene County Commission of 2017 pledged included jail expansion, hiring of new jail staff members, operating expenses for the jail, additional operating expenses in the Greene County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, emergency radio system improvements, courthouse renovations, mental health programs and more.
The new jail is divided into 20 different housing pods, with inmate capacities ranging from 24-56 inmates in a pod. The new jail will also have 16 rooms for court appearances by video teleconferencing, which means inmates will generally not leave the jail in order to make court appearances in downtown Springfield.
The majority of the inmates in the Greene County Jail are being held for pretrial court proceedings, and have not been convicted and sentenced.
In 2017, Greene County and the City of Springfield reached an agreement that ended a legal dispute over the housing of inmates arrested on the suspicion of committing municipal offenses. Per the terms of the agreement, Greene County agreed to house up to 48 Springfield municipal inmates at any given time, with the opportunity to house more at cost to the City of Springfield.
According to the terms of the 2017 addendum, the City of Springfield committed to provide $2 million toward construction of additional jail capacity in Greene County through an annual payment of $200,000 for a period of 10 years.