The Floyd County Jail medical wing is on track for completion at the end of November, despite the initial worry that the coronavirus pandemic might slow the process down.
The remaining construction is mostly electrical, plumbing, drywall installation and painting the walls, but both Floyd County Jail Administrator Maj. Bob Sapp and Carroll Daniel Construction Superintendent John Dooly feel good about the process and timing.
“We’ve been assisting with inmate labor, which has helped tremendously,” Sapp said. “In fact, right now we have inmates priming the walls and helping set sheet rock.”
The renovation is phase one of a 2017 special purpose, local option sales tax project. Construction began in the spring, right when the pandemic hit Northwest Georgia.
“It (the pandemic) puts a damper on things, trying to keep people at a distance,” Dooly said. “It does slow things down a little bit trying to get everyone to work safely, which they’ve been doing great at. Probably the biggest thing is getting the products and materials out there, because a lot of those companies have shut down so that throws us a little bit behind... Other than that, we’ve been doing pretty good.”
For a jail, a medical facility has to be just as impregnable and secure as the other parts of the building.
“Any kind of mechanical, electrical or plumbing is very specialized,” Sapp said. “Every piece of equipment in here is extremely sophisticated... you can’t just call a plumber to fix something at the jail because it’s unlike anything a regular plumber has ever seen.”
The ceiling itself has an iron mesh grid to prevent inmates from breaking through. The walls are also reinforced with metal studs and high velocity impact sheetrock.
“It’s extremely heavy, it takes two to three guys to just carry a sheet of it,” Sapp said. “And it goes over the iron mesh on both sides of the wall and the steel beams inside.”
The floor itself is 12 inches of solid concrete to prevent any further breaking.
The medical facility will have about 16 to 20 beds on both the male and female sides, as well as two isolation rooms for inmates with infectious diseases, a dentistry room, a break room and offices for the doctors.
Every cell and bed will be suicide-resistant as well, which includes bolted down beds and reinforced utilities. This is to prevent anyone from intentionally hurting themselves or fashioning any sort of weapon from the bed frame, bathroom mirror or other parts of the cell.
“We’re lucky to have had Carroll Daniel Construction oversee this because they’ve done such a special job with this project,” Sapp said.
Staff is currently in the process of getting phase two of the SPLOST project started, which will begin converting side five of the jail into a mental health wing. The mental health wing will be able to house 40 to 45 inmates.