Expansion set for Osceola County Jail

REED CITY — The Osceola County Jail has waited 50 years for a makeover and officials hope it will finally get one this fall.

Osceola County Undersheriff Justin Halladay said since the jail was built in 1963, it has not received any structural changes or updates.

Because of this, Halladay said the front offices inside the jail are not as secure as he would like.

“I’m not talking about the cells, but the administrative offices are exposed,” Halladay said. “Our customer service window is open to the public, which it should be, but there is no glass like you see in most police or sheriff departments that separate individuals from the interior department for safety.”

Halladay would like to see updates to the lobby area to make the space more modern, user-friendly and in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Earlier this month, Osceola County Commission hired Landmark Design Group, of Grand Rapids, for project details, write-ups and pricing for a jail expansion, which would update the space and also add more square footage.

Osceola County Commission Chair Larry Emig said the expansion would be a small add-on, making the one side of the building that is longer than the other flush.

Emig said along with the additional space, this would allow the windows to be redone to be more energy efficient.

An architect has been selected to develop plans for the expansion, including figuring out the approximate cost. The plans are scheduled to be submitted to the commission by mid-June, Emig said.

Once the plans are back, both Halladay and Emig want to get the ball rolling.

“I don’t think this is too major of a project, so once we get the design and the sense of cost we should be able to get started within a month or two and hopefully be completed by the fall,” Emig said.

Halladay said the added square footage would likely only be about 500 to 600 square feet, but he thinks this should be enough for a new lobby and entryway, public restrooms and a new service window.

In moving the lobby forward with the expansion, the existing lobby will be reutilized to be more efficient, he said.

“We’ve done a lot to make most of our space, but this is our opportunity to instead of a temporary fix, create a long-term solution,” Halladay said. “It’s been 50 years since this building was built and the world has changed a lot. We need to change with it.”