The Lake County Board of County Commissioners met in special session on Monday, June 20, 1988 at 9:00 a.m. in the Board of County Commissioner's Meeting Room, Lake County Courthouse, Tavares, Florida. Commissioners present at the meeting were: Glenn C. Burhans, Chairman: Thomas J. Windram; Claude E. Smoak, Jr.: James R. Carson, Jr.; and Don Bailey. Others present were: Christopher C. Ford, County Attorney; James C. Watkins, Clerk; Howard H. Babb, Jr., Public Defender; S. Ray Gill, State Attorney; Noel E. Griffin, Jr., Sheriff; and Linda Springston, Deputy Clerk.
James C. Watkins, Clerk, gave the Invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Commr. Carson.
Mrs. Kathy McDonald, Assistant County Administrator, introduced another possible site selection, adjacent to the Tavares City limits, consisting of approximately 25 acres off of Woodlea Road, which the owner of the property is willing to negotiate to sell to the County, for the purpose of constructing the Jail/Criminal Justice Complex. It was noted that the architect has not had an opportunity to consider this site at the present time.
Mr. Bob Messmer, with the architectural firm of Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum (HOK), appeared before the Board to present an evaluation for the consideration of a proper location for the Jail/Criminal Justice Complex project.
Mr. Messmer referenced the May 3, 1988 Lake County Criminal Justice Facility Site Evaluation Report, which had been presented to the Board at the regular Board meeting of that date, and stated that most of the issues, evaluations, and opinions contained in that report are still correct.
Mr. Messmer stated that he questioned the users of the complex regarding what their opinions are for the complex, and concluded that the most important concerns were with costs and life cycle costs.
Mr. Messmer discussed with the Board the Lake County Criminal Justice Facility Site Evaluation Report Amendment Number 1, dated June 20, 1988, consisting of:
Section 1 - Introduction and Summary
Section 2 - Differences, Advantages/Disadvantages
Section 3 - Life Cycle Cost Analysis and Opinion
Section 4 - Construction Cost Analysis
Section 5 - Suggested Considerations
Mr. Messmer stated that, should the courts and the jail not be in the same location, it could result in the transportation of prisoners, which would be very costly and not secure.
Mr. Messmer informed the Board that he had analyzed approximately 22 jail/justice complexes around the Country regarding staff/inmate ratio, and determined that there is an insignificant difference in the quantity of staff required to manage and supervise inmates.
Mr. Messmer explained to the Board that his definition of a single-level jail facility is two levels of cells and one level of dayroom/multi-purpose/support space adjacent to the cells. A multi-level jail facility is defined as two two-level cells with two levels of dayroom/multi-purpose/support spaces being underneath and/or adjacent to the cells.
Mr. Messmer rendered his definition of the court facility on a single-level concept as being a one or two story facility, and a multi-level concept as being a five story facility.
Mr. Messmer stated that, on an average, the difference of a single-level versus a multi-level concept, is approximately two and one-half percent (2 l/2%).
Mr. Messmer reviewed the Building System Cost Analysis for the Judicial and Sheriff's functions and the Jail, Jail Administration Support with the Board.
Mr. Messmer expressed to the Board that he felt that the City of Tavares is adamant regarding locating the facility in downtown Tavares, and felt that the Commissioners may face additional delays if they opt to locate it elsewhere.
Mr. Messmer stated that, when the County retained HOK, they understood that the site would be the downtown Tavares site. Shortly thereafter, the Commissioners chose to consider other sites.
Mr. David Summers, Vice-President of Barton Malow, the Construction Managers for the project, stated to the Board, that his company's expertise is in construction, and their job is to support the design team with information on costs, type, quality, and issues which affect the constructibility of the project. He stated that there is a tremendous range in costs throughout the country and that range is not dependent on the location of the site.
Mr. Summers stated his firm can construct the building on any of the sites which are under consideration, and that the cost depends on the design concept and details selected.
Mr. John Dickinson, with Barton Malow, discussed the problems associated with determining the cost differences between building on the downtown site versus building on a rural site; and building a multi-level facility opposed to a single-level facility. They had requested from the architects two designs, one for the downtown site and one for a rural site, from which they arrived at a premium cost for building on the downtown site of a little less than one million dollars. It was noted that this cost is for the actual cost of building the facility, including site acceptability, site restraints, erection equipment, and length of time to construct. He stated that the time difference is one to two months longer for the downtown site.
Mr. Dickinson stated to the Board, that the architect, through his design, could determine the premium cost for building the complex on the downtown site, by the type of finish and mechanical system used, and still construct a quality facility.
At this time, Mr. Bob Buchanan, with Correctional Services Group, Inc., appeared before the Board and addressed the staffing to inmate ratio. He stated that the long-term operational costs over the first 30 years of operation of the facility is approximately one quarter to one half billion dollars.
Mr. Buchanan then reviewed the costs of staffing the necessary personnel for the facility, consisting of Administration, Programs, Court Services, and Security. He stated that there is no difference in operational costs for the Administration, Program, and Court Services; and that there is an insignificant difference in the security costs, for a multi-level versus a low-level facility.
Mr. Buchanan stated that the most important factor is the movement of prisoners, visitors, and services, primarily by elevator or stairs, and that the only problem concerning a multi-level facility would be an insufficient number of elevators. He stated that the facilities he had contacted were complimentary in regards to the efficiency of movement of individuals, with an adequate number of elevators, in a multi-level facility. He stated that one single-level facility contacted was 5/8 of a mile from one end of the building to the other, and requires 7-8 minutes walking time.
Mr. Buchanan informed the Board that, in a multi-level facility the movement of visitors is less complicated, because the staff can program the elevators to go to certain floors, with virtually no staff supervision, whereas, in a single-level facility security supervision is required.
Mr. Buchanan expressed the fact that, in a single-level facility there is an additional need for officers which escort visitors to and from the visiting areas, and a need for perimeter control officers to monitor the integrity of the fencing system and ensure that no contraband has been left around the facility.
Mr. Buchanan offered the opinion that there is no difference between staffing the facilities, but that a multi-level facility is slightly more efficient in regards to the number of staff.
Mr. Buchanan stated that, in terms of security, a multi-level facility has a reduced rate of escapes by prisoners.
Mr. Buchanan also stated that, in regards to recreation, a single-level facility can be better designed for recreation, and it is easier to evacuate in case of an emergency.
Mr. Buchanan discussed the delivery of food services, medical, and health programs in a single-level versus a multi-level facility.
Mr. Messmer discussed with the Board the initial statements made regarding the concept of a seven-story, downtown facility, with the relocation of the Health Department, and the mitigation of wetlands.
Mr. Messmer stated that the County could construct the project either all north of Main Street, if the land is available, or a portion north and south of Main Street, saving the Health Department building, not utilizing the wetlands, and being at a height less than the current Lake County Courthouse of five stories.
At this time, Mr. James C. Watkins, Clerk of the Circuit Court, read to the Board, a letter from the Circuit and County Judges of Lake County, with the exception of Judge Peterson, who felt, due to his brief tenure on the bench and lack of familiarity with the input surrounding the site selection, that he is not qualified to render an opinion at this time. Mr. Watkins stated that the Judges (Aulls, Lockett, Singeltary, and Hill), have thoroughly and objectively reviewed the sites described in the Lake County Criminal Justice Facility Site Evaluation Report of May 3, 1988, and unanimously recommend site "D", the "downtown site".
Sheriff Noel E. Griffin, Jr. addressed his concerns regarding a multi-level jail facility.
Sheriff Griffin stated that he was in favor of a single-level jail, but would be willing to accept a multi-level, 2-tier jail, as outlined by Mr. Messmer. He also recommends that there be more than one elevator located within the facility, and that the jail be adjacent to the courtrooms to utilize hallways to move prisoners to court hearings, in lieu of tunnels.
Sheriff Griffin informed the Board that he does not have any preference on the location of the jail, but feels that it would be a logical decision to locate it in downtown Tavares.
Mr. Watkins addressed the Board, speaking as the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Chairman of the Jail Task Force Committee, and stated that the Committee felt all along that the buildings and the jail should be located as close to the current Courthouse as possible, which would be in downtown Tavares.
Mr. Watkins stated, for the record, that the first Jail Task Force Committee meeting was in April of 1983, and that the project has been ongoing for approximately five years.
Mr. Watkins expressed his thoughts, as the Clerk of the Circuit court, that the division of court related office functions and non-court related functions will be done irrespective of where criminal court process is located. There will be a need to further divide the office between civil and criminal, which will require realignment of supervisory staff, as it presently exists.
Mr. Watkins informed the Board that his personal feelings regarding the facility is that it should be south of Main Street, as originally recommended, and believes that there will be a need for the expansion of the Health Department, and that fact should be addressed at the present time, and that the mitigation of the wetlands to be utilized are not as significant as previously stated.
Mr. Howard H. Babb, Jr., Public Defender, stated that he agreed with the letter that Mr. Watkins read submitted by the Judges, and his concerns echoed theirs.
Mr. Babb discussed with the Board some concerns regarding the transportation of prisoners, which is costly and dangerous.
Mr. S. Ray Gill, State Attorney, addressed his feelings regarding the location of the facility, and stated that he also supported the statements made by the Judges and Mr. Babb.
Mr. Tony Otte, Tavares City Administrator, appeared before the Board and introduced certain representatives of the City of Tavares, which were present in the audience, and stated that he had no formal presentation prepared for the meeting today, but was available to answer any questions directed at the Tavares City officials.
A resident of Tavares questioned the architect whether the facility will be equipped for a helicopter landing pad.
Mr. Messmer stated that there had been some discussion regarding a helicopter landing pad, with no definite decisions made, and that he feels the facility could handle such a requirement. On a motion by Commr. Bailey, seconded by Commr. Carson and carried unanimously, the Board approved to rescind the motion made at the May 3, 1988, Board meeting regarding site C, as the backup site, if site 11 could not be utilized.
At this time, Commr. Carson stated his concerns regarding the mitigation of the wetlands and destruction of the Health Department. He informed the Hoard that he had conversed with Mr. Bill Lockhart, who is the Courts Administrator for Pinellas County, regarding the expense and risks of transporting prisoners from one location to another.
Commr. Bailey stated that all of his concerns have been met, at this time, regarding the issue.
Commr. Smoak then offered his comments regarding the issue, stating that he felt all along that the downtown site was the most reasonable and efficient location. He stated his reasons why he had not supported the downtown site in the past and other concerns he had regarding the site.
Commr. Windram stated that he felt that the majority of the users of the facility conclude that the downtown site should be utilized, and would like to see the project get underway.
Mr. Chris Ford, County Attorney, suggested that reference be made to page 24, of the May 3, 1988, Lake County Criminal Justice Facility Site Evaluation Report, regarding the location of site D, the downtown Tavares site.
Mr. Messmer suggested that the Hoard define what the downtown site actually is, then determine what portions of the land are best utilized for the facility.
Commr. Carson stated that, if the County utilizes a portion of the wetlands for parking and not destroy the Health Department, he would be in agreement to construct on the downtown site.
On a motion by Commr. Bailey, seconded by Commr. Carson and carried, the Board approved to choose the downtown Tavares site, as shown on page 24 of the Lake County Criminal Justice Facility Site Evaluation Report, dated May 3, 1988, for the Jail/Criminal Justice Facility (labeled site Dl, and authorize the staff to review the concerns as to the design and location, ensuring final input by the Hoard regarding the plans for the facility, and also authorized the staff to continue with the purchase of the land delineated on page 24, which is located south of Main Street.
Commr. Burhans voted "No".
Commr. Carson discussed with the Hoard that the consultants and the staff should be reminded that the County has already set aside a $34.5 million total figure for the complex, which would include land acquisition, and that they should try to stay within that amount.
There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting adjourned at l0:45 a.m.
GLENN C. BURHANS, CHAIRMAN
JAMES C. WATKINS, CLERK