November 13, 2008

McLean County Jail nears completion

By Danielle Abbott

Beginning in August 2007, the McLean County Jail was demolished. It was a lengthy process deciding whether to remodel the current jail, or rebuild a new jail, but within one week of the completed demolition, the foundation was being laid for the new McLean County Law Enforcement Center. There were several key elements, which sealed the fate of the previous jailing facility. The building was struggling to meet the requirements and codes needed to house prisoners. The number of prisoners entering the McLean County system was slowly increasing, and prisoners could only be held for a maximum 90 days. After 90 days, prisoners would be shipped to other facilities. McLean County Auditor Les Korgel said, "Looking at some of those issues, and the handicap accessibility issues that we had with the old building, between the jail part itself and the office part, there wasn’t much that we could do." Handicap accessibility became a large factor in the decision to rebuild. The former building did not allow any private visitation area for those with handicap needs and making those alterations was quite expensive. "We started putting the numbers together," Korgel said, "And it just came out that it made sense to build a new facility." With the groundbreaking and land work taking place in September 2007, McLean County hoped to have the new jail facility completed in 18 months. The decision was made early on to put the footings deeper into the ground, which helped with more stability, but also added about 30 days onto the completion date.

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