North County Jail to break ground in April

John Lindt

$44 million decade long jail slated for Sequoia Field ready to break ground next spring

TULARE COUNTY – In the works for a decade, Tulare County officials say they will be ready to break ground on the long-awaited North County Jail at Sequoia Field by this coming April.

With a construction value of around $44 million, the county was awarded $40 million by the state Department of Corrections as far back as 2013.

Tulare County General Services Capital Project Coordinator Kyle Taylor expects construction to take 18 months and will be complete and ready to operate by January 2023.

The detention project consists of the construction of a new 256 bed adult facility. The facility will contain multiple program rooms for self-help, rehabilitation and education programs. The building will also contain medical areas, intake, release and processing, interview room, a property room, an intake office, pedestrian and vehicular sally ports, laundry area, a food staging room, maintenance area and a day reporting center.

With inmates being transferred to Sequoia Field when the new complex is in place, the “main jail,” a five-story structure next to the Civic Center on Burrel, will be demolished. But general services director Brooke Sisk says there is no schedule yet to do that. The building dates from 1955.

Sisk says the long lead time to build the new jail is due to a variety of factors. The North County Jail Project has been significantly delayed for a number of reasons including:

A bond encumbrance that had to be removed from the property and multiple approvals from the state in regards to real estate due diligence and preliminary plan approval.

Due to escalating construction costs while the previous items were addressed, the design had to be value engineered to remain within budget.

The ground lease meeting with the state, typically held in Sacramento, was expected to be scheduled in March or April. Due to COVID-19, this was delayed, and has finally “happened just this past week.”

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