Company to study feasibility of public safety building

Published 5:46 pm Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Selma City Council will consider Tuesday whether to hire a Montgomery company to study the feasibility of the city constructing a public safety building.

The idea has been in the works for a few years and was something former Mayor George Evans supported.The 20-year city currently contracts with the county to house its inmates for $200,000 a year. That contract will be up for renewal and renegotiation in 2019.

“In 2019, we will be talking back with the county about going into (another contract),” said Mayor Darrio Melton.

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Jeff Cahill with JMR+H Architecture spoke to the council about his firm conducting a feasibility study. The firm has designed correctional facilities and other municipal buildings across the South, including the Clarke County Jail, a Montgomery police and fire substation at a former mall, the Tuscaloosa County 911 operations center and the Prattville Public Safety building.

Cahill said if the city wants the study to be done the first thing to do will be to have a kickoff meeting with everyone involved to understand what the city’s wants and needs are.

“Who’s there, how long they are staying, what kind of crimes are they committing,” Cahill said. “After we gather all this information — how does the police department want to operate, how does the fire department want to operate. Then try to understand how these parts and pieces come together and operate in one facility.”

The study would include a cost estimate and other suggestions from the firm, Cahill said. The study will cost between $12,000 and $15,000, but that fee would be credited back to the city should the city decide to use JMR+H Architecture for the project. The city of Selma refinanced 2011 bonds totaling $11 million at a lower interest rate last fall and included the $600,000 the city would have paid to Dallas County over the next three years for jail space.