County jail to get new roof

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 10, 2003

After 10 years even the sturdiest house roof can use repairing. That’s also true for jail roofs.

According to Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman Jr., the roof of the Dallas County Jail has several leaks. &uot;Water isn’t cascading down,&uot; Huffman said. &uot;There’s just an irritating leak in certain parts of the jail.&uot;

Huffman brought the matter to the attention of the Dallas County Commission at its Monday meeting. &uot;If I’ve got a problem, I’m going to let them know about it,&uot; Huffman said. &uot;I know it’s going to be fixed. The question is, who is going to do it and what is it going to cost?&uot;

It’s too early to determine how much repairs will cost, but it will be more than $7,500, the amount at which the county must put a job out for bid. Huffman said he was currently inquiring into the matter of a possible warranty on the roof. If a warranty does exist, the company that installed the roof 10 years ago would fix the problem. If no warranty exists, the county must bid the repairs out.

Repairing the roof isn’t the only item on Huffman’s to-do list. Several electrical breaker boxes must also be repaired, but those projects are on hold until the roof is fixed. Huffman said replacing the breaker boxes before the roof would be pointless since a leaky roof would require the new boxes to be replaced again.

The jail was built more than 30 years ago. A new arm, or pod, was added just three years ago. The 10-year-old, 40,000 square-foot metal roof covers the entire jail.

The &uot;old&uot; jail is composed of an octagonal building with two arms extending away from it. One arm holds 10 female prisoners and the Perry Varner Boot Camp. The other arm, which is divided into an east and west side, is currently unoccupied.

The unoccupied portion of the jail can hold 75 prisoners.

The &uot;new&uot; jail can hold 146 prisoners, and houses the facilities’ medical and single-cell rooms. It currently holds 132 males.

The east side will remain closed for the time being, but Huffman already has initiated repairs on the west side. It’s being steam cleaned and painted in case more than 146 prisoners become incarcerated at the jail. &uot;We’re just doing a little bit at a time,&uot; he said.