Construction for a new Vigo County Jail is slated to start in July, with completion in February 2021, according to a timeline presented to a federal judge as part of a lawsuit alleging unconstitutional conditions in the county's current facility.
The county sheriff's department is to begin to occupy the facility in March 2021, with the jail being fully functional in April 2021, according to a court submission filed Tuesday.
The court filing states a jail of 484 beds with an estimated cost of $45 million to $50 million, excluding financing costs.
"The commissioners have also selected the site of a former International Paper plant as the location for the new jail on Indiana 63 southeast of downtown Terre Haute," the court filing states. "The commissioners are seeking a variance from the (Terre Haute) Board of Zoning Appeals to construct the jail on the proposed site."
A hearing on the variance is scheduled for Nov. 14.
"Site selection is anticipated to be completed this month but will depend on approval of the variance for the International Paper site," the filing states.
The filing states commissioners and the city of Terre Haute have sought an outside legal opinion "to determine whether the variance for the jail is appropriate or if a rezoning petition must be filed and approved by the Terre Haute City Council. The issuance of the third party legal opinion is expected later this month," the filing states.
Garmong Construction, construction manager for a new jail, submitted a proposed timeline to county commissioners on Oct. 9, according to the court filing.
Design of the jail started in October and will take seven months and is expected to be completed by April. Bidding and awarding of construction contracts is slated in May and June next year.
The filing also noted action last month from the Vigo County Council hiring 27 full-time jail staff, estimated to cost $1.6 million annually, to be funded through a public safety tax effective Oct. 1. That tax is expected to generate about $2 million next year.
The county this year funded three full-time positions for jail staff, which were included in the county's 2019 budget. The council is expected to appropriate funds in 2019 for the remaining 24 full-time jail staff.
The timeline is a result of a federal lawsuit filed in October 2016 by attorney Michael Sutherlin on behalf of inmate Jauston Huerta and others. It claimed the jail population regularly exceeded a 268-inmate cap set in 2002 to settle another complaint regarding overcrowding and that conditions were such they violated the Eighth Amendment (cruel and unusual punishment) and the 14th Amendment (due process and equal protection under the law).
The case is Jauston Huerta, et al. vs. Greg Ewing, et al., No. 2:16-cv-00397-JMS-MJD in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division.