The Starke County Commissioners are set to open bids for construction of the new jail this week. They’ve scheduled a special meeting for that purpose Thursday at 10 a.m. in the commissioners room at the county annex building. The estimated cost for the project is $10.2 million. The bids will likely be taken under advisement so they can be reviewed to make sure they conform to the project specifications. A previously announced timeline for the project calls for the bid to be awarded on Monday, Oct. 21 and a groundbreaking ceremony to be held on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 11 a.m. at the project site east of Knox on State Road 8. Construction is slated to start on Tuesday, Nov. 12. Work on the project can continue through the winter since an existing building is being modified.
In addition to the base bid, the project includes several options, ranging from additional cells to eventually moving the circuit courtroom to the new facility. Scott Cherry with Merrillville-based Skillman Corporation is hopeful at least some of the extras can be folded into the initial construction. He previously told WKVI news that contractors are hungry and says he expects the bid process to be competitive. The entire project should be finished by spring of 2015.