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Jail housing almost ready
Inmates could move into a new structure as early as today; the original tent was destroyed in a tornado.
By MOLLY MOORHEAD, Times Staff Writer
Published February 1, 2008
Pasco sheriff's Sgt. Steve Wood looks over computer monitors that will watch over the new temporary housing at the Land O'Lakes jail. The original tent-like housing was destroyed by a tornado on Dec. 16. Some inmates could move in today.
[Mike Pease | Times]
LAND O'LAKES - Forty-five days after a pre-dawn tornado tore apart a temporary housing structure at the county jail, work is nearly complete on its replacement.
The total cost of the twister's damage: between $1.2-million and $1.3-million, Sheriff Bob White said Thursday.
Early on Dec. 16, detention staff evacuated 185 inmates from two tent-like structures moments before the tornado struck, demolishing one of the tents and damaging the second. No one was injured. Both were erected as extra quarters to ease overcrowding.
Since then, contractors, county staff and jail inmates have been working to rebuild. The costs will be covered by a variety of county sources, including risk management funds and insurance.
The total price tag includes the cost of housing displaced inmates in surrounding counties' jails. Fifty-five women remain at the privately-run jail in Hernando County, which is charging Pasco $56 per day for each inmate, Major Brian Head said.
The structure that was left standing, which received some exterior damage, has since been repaired and reopened to male inmates, Head said.
The new building - an exact copy of the one that was destroyed - could be ready for inmates as soon as today. With rows of bunks and picnic tables in a gymnasium-like setting, it can house 118 women. The bathroom stalls were salvaged from the earlier building, White said.
Still, it's only temporary and the sheriff said the replacement is probably no better equipped to handle severe weather.
Work is scheduled to begin later this year on a three-story, $17-million permanent jail expansion.