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Work in progress

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DIG DEEP: Workers begin putting up a mesh barrier after excavating a hole on the north side of the Grant County Juvenile Detention Center on Tuesday.
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NEW COAT: Plasterer Kevin Wooten puts the finishing touches on the base of a tower on the south side of the Willis Van Devanter Grant County Office Complex on Tuesday.

BY Carolyn Muyskens - cmuyskens@chronicle-tribune.com

An $8 million project to renovate parts of the Grant County Jail, the Grant County Complex and the Grant County Juvenile Detention Center has been underway for months at the corner of Adams Street and Third Street.

On Tuesday, workers could be seen working in and around a deep hole outside the juvenile detention center digging a place for a new sump receiver expected to come in next Wednesday.

The sump receiver will help with persistent basement flooding problems the center has been experiencing after heavy rains.

Ameresco project manager Jeff Rabourn said the hole will need to be 20 feet deep to house the sump receiver.

The leaks were due to the fact that the basement walls had only been partially reinforced, on the top half of the basement walls, when repairs were made to the center several years ago.

The lower, unreinforced half has been letting water into the basement, so workers will add a secondary wall for reinforcement, as well as piping that will take groundwater that would otherwise leak into the building to the sump receiver instead.

The county office complex has had similar flooding problems, which were fixed last month by Ameresco contractors.

Workers had to dig dirt out from around the walls and carry it up in buckets to make space for concrete, gravel and a pipe system to bring water to the new sump receiver going in outside the juvenile detention center.

Once the sump receiver is in place and connected to the new piping, it should be able to pump the water several hundred feet down Adams Street through a buried line to the manhole, where it will be directed west into an underground stream.

During this project, one lane of Adams Street will be closed outside the juvenile detention center for about eight weeks. This is expected to begin sometime in the next couple weeks.

A major part of the jail renovation is nearing completion, with 85 percent of the exterior wall work already done, according to Rabourn.

That exterior work included repairing and then repainting the outside walls of the jail and resealing and repainting its aging windows.

“It looks like a brand new building,” Rabourn said.

A new, larger generator was also recently installed in the building, according to Executive Secretary for the County Commissioners T.C. Hull. The old generator had not had the capacity to power the whole jail and office complex.

The final renovations begin in the fall, with plumbing and security upgrades for the jail slated for September.

Rabourn said these projects will take more time than usual owing to the logistics of moving inmates in order to do the work. Inmates will most likely need to be moved in groups of 10 to 12, Rabourn said. 

The plumbing in the jail cells needs to be replaced since the old pipes are deteriorating, and doors inside the jail will also get security upgrades.

This work is expected to continue through early 2019.