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Architect confirmed for new jail

Crawford County justices of the peace confirmed the architect that will design and build a new $20 million jail if voters approve a sales tax to fund it.

SouthBuild TEAM LLC of Tennessee was approved unanimously by JPs during the Crawford County Quorum Court meeting Monday night.

Architect James Langford and Mike Kelley, director of business development, along with Kelley’s construction team, are the parts that make up the sum of SouthBuild. The team works exclusively on jail facilities.

Langford has more than two decades of experience in project management, programming, planning and design.

Together, Langford and Kelley have built three juvenile and 18 adult jails in Arkansas. Another five are under contract, design or construction.

In neighboring states, SouthBuild has an additional 24 jail facilities under contract, design or construction.

This experience was one of the sticking points for county officials, several of whom said they wanted to make sure the jail project was “done right.”

A three-person committee made up of County Judge John Hall, Sheriff Ron Brown and Justice of the Peace Lloyd Cole made the initial selection of SouthBuild, which they announced last week.

Their final choice was narrowed down from a list of about seven, Hall said.

Langford and Kelley were on hand at the quorum court meeting to answer questions. They assured JPs that all of their finished projects have been completed by deadline and costs remained within budget.

Any contract between the county and SouthBuild is contingent upon the passing of the three-quarter percent sales tax at the polls May 20.

A half-percent of the tax will be used pay the debt service on a bond issue for jail construction, and a quarter-percent will be for ongoing operations and maintenance.

If the tax fails to pass, Crawford County will only be responsible for paying SouthBuild about $15,000, which will cover the cost analysis, preliminary design and site evaluation.

A four-day work session is set in mid-April, during which SouthBuild will “define the budget and scope of the project, and get into the details,” Langford said. They will then present their findings to county officials.

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