Consultant: Quick design of cost-efficient jail/court plan

Provided graphic This drawing shows the proposed floor plan for the first-floor expansion project for the Houghton County jail/courthouse complex.

HOUGHTON — Houghton County officials conducted a three-day workshop earlier this month to create the floor plan for a proposed addition.

Participating in the focused design session were Sheriff Brian McLean, Eric Forsberg, county administrator, and Tim Palosaari, County Board commissioner.

Rob Miller, a jail staffing, operations and planning consultant, also contributed to the workshop, along with Karin Cooper, an architect with U.P. Engineers & Architects; Kevin Coppo, Houghton County undersheriff; and Doug Hebner, jail administrator.

Miller’s nonprofit organization has assisted in the design of 1,400 jails and prisons in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

Miller said the layout of the addition developed more quickly than he had expected.

“This group has produced a cost-efficient building plan,” Miller said, “because it will be connected to the courthouse, and because we’re able to integrate all of the existing jail into an effective plan.”

The addition will allow the county to close the work camp at the airport and will also provide the courts with important pretrial and sentencing choices.

The addition will provide as many cells and separations as the new jail proposed in 2010, Miller said.

“By fully integrating the current jail, it will provide more separate housing units than the previous design,” Miller stated. “The additional beds and separations will provide the flexibility you need to serve citizens, including those citizens you have to lock up.”

The preliminary floor plan will be further refined and evaluated in the coming weeks. Improvements will be made, and state and local officials will review and comment on it.

The final plan is expected to It will be released this coming summer.