A jail committee was named Monday night to oversee early stages of the construction of a new Bladen County jail. Chairman Charles Ray Peterson appointed one commissioner from each district and one at large commissioner to the initial committee.
Arthur Bullock was named from District 1, Peterson is the District 2 representative, Russell Priest from District 3 and Billy Ray Pait as an at large commissioner, will serve on the committee.
The first assignment for the new committee will be to interview candidates to oversee the construction of a new jail.
Peterson said the entire board will be involved in the project, that the next committee will consist of other board members.
The Chairman said he wanted the project to have a high priority in the coming months.
The board began to move forward on the project several months ago when Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Douglas Sasser, following numerous request for action, ask for a monthly report on efforts to upgrade the jail or build a new one. The current jail is over 50 years old and has been condemned by state officials and several Bladen County grand juries over the years.
The jail will be constructed on property owned by the county near the Powell-Melvin Agriculture Building at 351 Smith Circle, Elizabethtown.
Elizabethtown town commissioners approved a Special Use Permit Monday night that will allow the project to move forward, subject to meeting requirements set forth in the town zoning ordinances. Capt. Jeff Singletary and Sheriff Jim McVicker attended the town meeting after making an appearance at the county board of commissioners meeting.
According to the information provided to the town, the facility will consist of 59,000 square feet and be located in a forest grove area.
Earlier estimates indicated the jail could cost in the range of $17 to $20 million. The final size and cost to be determined.
Moseley Architects provided commissioners information on options related to size and cost in March of 2014. Initially, county officials ask the architects to consider the old White Lake Department of Corrections as a possible site. It was determined the cost of renovation to bring that site up to state standards would be more expensive than building a new jail.