Multi-million dollar Oklahoma County jail options presented, citizens call for community investment

Architectural consultants hired by the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council shared two multimillion-dollar options for the future of the Oklahoma County Jail in a meeting Thursday evening as citizens called for investments in social services instead.

The options, one to build an entirely new facility and a second to renovate the existing facility and add an annex, both come with price tags of several hundred million dollars. A new facility valued at $300 million would allow the county to abandon the current troubled 30-year-old high-rise facility.

Renovation, according to architectural consultants John Semtner and Jeff Bradley, is possible but would mean added time and complexities due to years of deferred maintenance and the requirement to move detainees while each floor of the 13-story building is being worked on.

The renovation would add an annex to address issues with the building’s current medical facilities. When the jail was built in 1991, it was not equipped with an infirmary or a medical unit. In the time since, the 13th floor has been retrofitted to allow medical contractors to provide in-house services. The estimated cost for renovations and the addition would be around $275 million.

Continue Reading…