The goal for the $800,000 remodel is to increase efficiency and security.

Plans for remodeling the Pratt County jail are about 80 to 85 percent complete, Shawn Harding, senior associate with HMN Architects, Inc., Overland Park, told county commissioners Monday evening.

Harding brought a set of drawings, similar to what would be provided to contractors, for commissioners and law enforcement personnel to see and comment on.

He termed the approximately $800,000 remodel a “very simple project” that rearranges space, increases the size of the garage and adds a small kitchen receiving area and sallyport for the secure transfer of prisoners. The building will be pulled out about 15 feet into the corridor between the jail and courthouse, and still give room for vehicles, he said.

The plan “pushed and pulled some things” to give the jailer an office in the jail, with direct access to the booking officers and rearranges the booking area so officers never have to turn their backs on prisoners.

Although the remodel does not increase the bed space, it does provide more holding cells to separate men, women and juveniles. Harding said plans had been drawn with the potential for a two-level housing scheme in the future. A future kitchen remodel can also be accomplished with the plan he presented.

“It isn’t a big project, but we’re trying to set the basis for what happens in the future,” Harding said.

He acknowledged there were still a few questions to be answered about the dispatching area. Sheriff Vernon Chinn noted that those questions should be referred to city personnel, who handle dispatching for the sheriff’s office, the police department, fire department and emergency medical services.

City Manager Dave Howard, Police Chief Gary Myers, Detective Jeff Ward and dispatcher Lyda Kasselman were all present at the meeting. They spoke about the need for communication and ability to share resources among personnel, and suggested that a wall needed to come down or at least have a window that could be opened.

“I’ll need to come over again and spend a little more time in your space,” Harding said to Myers.

He expects that the plans will be completed within the next month, and building could begin as early as May. He anticipates that construction would take about four months. Harding said Chinn was working on plans to keep everything operating in the jail during construction.

A set of drawings will be available locally, and Harding said he would also send them to plan rooms, where all trades check in. He will also contact some area firms that he is comfortable with.

The goal will be to get as many local contractors involved as possible. That would be a goal shared by general contractors.

“It makes sense,” Harding said. “They wouldn’t be paying for travel time and hotels.”

He said, however, that companies installing detention equipment would be from out of state.

Harding will make another presentation to commissioners before the plans are complete.