County to open bid for jail expansion

Published 11:36 am Monday, May 8, 2023

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – Shelby County is set to open a bid for the expansion of the Shelby County Jail on Tuesday, July 13.

According to, Shelby County Chief Facilities Management Officer Trey Gauntt, there are multiple elements to the jail expansion project. The project’s scope requires that measures be taken during construction to ensure the on-going, un-interrupted use of the facility.

Some of the proposed elements of the jail expansion include, expansion of the segregation unit, the addition of a new mental health wing, expansion of the medical unit, expansion of inmate property storage, the repurposing of existing office spaces and a population housing pod to expand the overall capacity of the jail.

“The main component is the addition of the mental health wing,” Gauntt said. “It seems like in today’s time we have more mental health issues inside the jail. That’ll really help (them) be able to give some of those treatments to inmates coming in the jail.”

The current proposed budget ranges anywhere from $30 million to 55 million depending on what elements the county awards.

Gauntt said that the project is flexible and the sheriff will be able to look into the values of the elements and be able to tell what he needs the most.

“The type of expansion we hope to do in the near future is built for the inmates that we’re having issues with,” Sheriff John Samaniego said. “We’re going to open up a mental health unit. It’s designed to keep people with mental health issues, and then we’re going to also double the size of our segregation unit which will help us when we have inmates that have special needs that need to be segregated. We also are going to expand our medical unit so we can better serve the inmates and that’s what we hope to start first.”

Samaniego said continued expansion of the jail is for later down the road.

The bid for the expansion is set for Tuesday, July 13.

“We’re pre-qualifying contractors now,” Gauntt said. “We have our legal advertisements running in the local papers now. Pre-qualifications from contractors will be submitted from now until June 9 and we have a pre-qualified list of contractors and that pool of contractors will then have until July 13 to submit bids and we’ll open bids at that time.”