The Pratt County Commissioners will have detailed costs of the first phase of renovation of the Pratt Law Enforcement Center at the May 31 meeting.


The Pratt County Commissioners will have detailed costs of the first phase of renovation of the Pratt Law Enforcement Center at the May 31 meeting.

The commissioners met with David Ahlstedt, mechanical engineer for LawKingdon Architecture, at their Monday meeting and were brought up to date with the most pressing issues facing the LEC.

Ahlstedt said his company would have a complete set of specifications of equipment, ductwork and so on ready to present to the commissioners so they could put out bids for the first phase. Those bids will probably go out the first of June and have 30 days for a return response. The bids would be open publicly on July 5, said Pratt County Counselor Gordon Stull.

Aging equipment would be the first to go then repairing old equipment that is staying then make modifications as needed.

The first area for renovation will be the entrance, dispatch and police chief’s area.

During previous construction, some areas were slighted for ductwork that now has to do double duty and the renovation will address those issues.

The meeting room in the basement has to borrow airflow from other areas. If more than 15 people are in the room, it gets very uncomfortable. A dedicated air unit will help alleviate the problem, Ahlstedt said.

The LEC is old enough now that the airflow in the building is out of balance and the renovation will help alleviate those problems.

The airflow units that feed the LEC has dampers that hamper airflow in the building when they are closed and they would cost $20,000 to replace, said Pratt County Sheriff Vernon Chinn.

The ductwork in the building is so bad it presents a potential for Legionnaires Disease. Better ductwork would mean better temperature control. Heat pumps and heat ducts would help bring the building up to code.

The simple fact is the LEC needs a lot of work because it’s only going to get worse.

“You need to start replacing systems,” Ahlstedt said. “And we have better systems.”

The computers in the lower level are in a room that heats up when the first floor is heated and that isn’t good.

Chinn wants to see estimates to replace the chiller inside the building. He believes the total cost of repairs to the chiller would be almost the same as the cost of a new chiller. Built inside so it won’t be blown away in a storm, the chiller is difficult to work on. It would be less expensive to work on if it was located outside.

Chinn also wants to review the booking area, holding cell and visiting area as well. These do not function well because they are cramped and do not provide enough safety features for the protection of officers, visitors and lawyers when dealing with criminals.

“The existing spaces are not being used as efficiently as they could be,” Chinn said. “Moving inmates is always a problem too.”

A new camera system for first appearances would help alleviate many problems at least on the first visit. The cells also cannot accommodate an inmate that needs ADA facilities. All of these elements are expensive and jail costs are getting out of hand, Chinn said.