Greene County buys land west of Springfield for new jail

After years of frustration from dealing with an overpopulation of inmates, the Greene County Commission has officially announced the purchase of 23 acres of land, that will be the home of the future Greene County jail.
The land is located a half mile west of Springfield, at Division Street and Haseltine Road, east of White Chapel Cemetery and south of the Springfield-Branson National Airport. The land is being purchased by the county from SCI Missouri Funeral Services, Inc., for $679,545. Final closing is anticipated to be complete by the end of the year.
A press conference related to the purchase was scheduled for 1:30-2 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 3 in the Media Room of the Public Safety Center located at 330 W. Scott Street.
“A great deal of hard work and due diligence has been conducted to get to this point and the citizens of Greene County can be proud that a suitable location has been determined to best use the funds and resources we have been entrusted with to make this project a reality for the community,” said Greene County Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon.
Since the design phase was started on the Greene County jail, many facts have changed that necessitated moving the jail to a location beyond the main Greene County campus. The most significant example is construction materials. At a key point in this process it was discovered designing the jail with steel pods would be cost prohibitive and possibly delay construction up to two years due to potential availability of the product. With this in mind, on May 14, 2019, the Greene County Commission voted to alter construction to include precast cells.
Another issue discovered during preliminary building designs indicated that, based on current campus space, the Greene County jail would need to be at least an 8-story building. An additional important consideration throughout this process has also been the small foot print of the building site on campus. Not only was this driving up construction cost, it allowed no space for future expansion. With all these factors weighed and after much consideration, it was determined the jail needed to be moved to a space off campus.
On May 21 of this year, the commission granted approval to pursue off-site property. Moving the jail to this new location creates an opportunity to relocate most of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office operations to one campus and the long-term benefits are substantial: the redesigned jail at a new location will save $95 million in staffing cost from the original resolution over the next 20 years due to indirect supervision being utilized with having more area to spread out the cell pods horizontally as opposed to vertically. “We continue to work to develop a jail that meets our short and long-term needs and very much look forward to a state-of-the-art design that provides efficient use of the space and manpower,” said Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott.
Design work in underway and the county expects to break ground as early as spring of 2020.
Below are some important statistics related to the Greene County jail/Sheriff’s Office:
- Current jail/Sheriff’s Office location year built: 2001
- Capacity: Currently houses 708 inmates (but the record was 960 inmates)
- Current number of Sheriff’s Office employees: 409
- Number of counties where Greene County houses inmates: 10 (the furthest away is Montgomery County, which is 206 miles away or a nearly three hour transport, one way.)
- New jail/Sheriff’s Office location anticipated construction completion: 2022
- Number of beds per resolution: not to exceed 1,407


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