Starke County officials will break ground for the Starke County Sheriffs Department and Detention Center east of Knox on State Road 8 on Thursday, Nov. 7. The public is welcome to attend the hour-long ceremony, which will begin at 10 a.m. The new 146 bed facility will more than double the capacity of the existing jail, which can hold up to 63 prisoners. The project was prompted by a federal lawsuit due to overcrowding at the jail.
“We’re housing an average of 15-20 prisoners a day in other jail facilities and have had up to 30 Starke County prisoners in the Pulaski County Jail. We are desperate to get this project done,” Sheriff Oscar Cowen said. His term as sheriff ends in 2014, and he’s not eligible to run for reelection due to term limits.
The project timeline calls for completion of the work in two stages. The sheriff’s department will be done by May of 2014, and the detention pods and 911 center will be finished by April of 2015. Bids for the project came in at $13.1 million.