Lawrence Co. to make offer on new jail site

The Lawrence County Commission has set its sights on this 75-acre parcel directly adjacent to Tatanka and across from The Lodge at Deadwood to house its new safety center.

DEADWOOD — Tuesday, the Lawrence County Commission approved Commissioner Daryl Johnson to begin negotiations with land owners to make a formal $3 million offer on a parcel of land meant to house the county’s new safety center.

Johnson said that over the past month, he had been asked to see what was available and spent considerable time exploring locations that might work within the city limits of Deadwood.

“And I’ve basically come up with one piece of property that is for sale, and I believe would work for that facility to be built on at some time in the future,” Johnson said. “We don’t know at what point in the future that might be, but we do know that, at some point in time, something is going to have to be done for our current jail.”

The approximate 70-acre property is owned by Deadwood Resort, LLC and is immediately adjacent to the Tatanka property.

“A good portion of it is hillside and the like, but there is a considerable amount of level ground and also the city services are there already,” Johnson said.

The property being considered was purchased by Deadwood Resort, LLC in 2016 for $6 million and it is currently listed for $4 million.

Tuesday, the commission also approved hiring Steve Williams of Williams & Associates as a consultant to shepherd the selection of an architect for the new facility.

In February, the county’s Justice Needs Study consultants, Indiana-based Elevatus Architecture, made their case to the commission and Sheriff Brian Dean followed up their presentation by recommending that the county build a new jail facility.

Elevatus said Lawrence County is in need of a new jail in a different location with a capacity of 104-120 beds.

A committee was then formed by Dean to work on the safety center project recommended that the new facility remain within the city limits of Deadwood.

“As everybody knows, with Deadwood, there just isn’t a lot of land available and there’s definitely not a big open pasture where you can just go out and build on it,” Johnson said. “The choices are limited.”

The study set out to examine current jail numbers and project trends to address future housing needs at the facility, the need for which was realized in recent years, as jail numbers wax and wane, sometimes dramatically.

The study said the useful life of the current jail facility is at its end and that the cost of additions and renovations to the current facility will significantly exceed the cost of a new building. Based on all the data and anecdotal evidence, it was recommended that Lawrence County engage in a new jail project. A work-release housing unit in conjunction with the county’s electronic monitoring system was also recommended.

The current jail was designed in April 1974.

The jail has four dayrooms with cells and two dormitory-style housing areas.

The calculation of the current rated bed count is 51 beds. Using the 80% rule, useable beds is 42.

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