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Contractor selected to design and build the new Cuyahoga County jail

The design for the new jail is made up of "modules" with two stories and 48 beds in each. If the maximum population has to be increased or decreased, the modules can be added or removed at a cost of about $8 million each. [Cuyahoga County]
concept drawings of jail pods

The committee planning a new Cuyahoga County jail has picked a contractor to design and build the $550 million facility.

The county received only one bid — from Cuyahoga County Justice Partners, a group that includes Rhode Island-based Gilbane, construction giant AECOM Hunt, and Cleveland-based Ozanne Construction.

Project manager Jeff Applebaum told the Justice Center Steering Committee during its meeting Thursday, they reached out to every company that can do this work and no one else was interested.

“We knew going in that it would be difficult,” Applebaum said. “It’s highly competitive to get jail builders right now.”

The committee, which includes County Executive Armond Budish, County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley, Administrative Judge Brendan Sheehan and representatives from Cleveland government, approved the contractor at its first meeting in four months.

Cuyahoga County Council will have final approval of the contract.

The plans so far call for a 850,000 square foot facility with 1,904 beds total, with 600 set aside for people with medical and mental health needs.

Applebaum told committee members the county will have to submit its jail design to the state for approval, potentially requiring an increased capacity.

“They’re not going to let you build an undersized facility,” Applebaum said.

The project’s planners hope to have a cost estimate from the builders in early March and the design completed by late April.

The county is still searching for a site to build on, the plan is to have one selected by early March.

According to Applebaum, they are down to four possibilities but are still accepting submissions from the public.

Matthew Richmond is a reporter/producer focused on criminal justice issues at Ideastream Public Media.