Mike Steines


“One was more sophisticated, had a bigger team” he said of the two firms.

On Monday, Dec. 6, the Jackson County Jail Advisory Committee will consider and likely vote on a firm to oversee design and construction of a possible Jackson County jail. 

The Jackson County supervisors could vote the following morning on whom the county will work with.

John Hansen of Midwest Construc-tion Consultants and the Samuels Group each presented their proposals for services to the jail advisory committee Nov. 26. The committee is looking at different firms after a failed bond referendum in August that was based on designs from Des Moines’ Shive-Hattery.

The Samuels Group has done more than $300 million in public work, including for the Iowa Department of Corrections and neighboring Clinton County. Representatives talked about how the company could provide the county with a communications strategy before the election and the firm’s responsibility to keep the county’s financial interests at heart.

John Hansen of Midwest Construction Consultants has built about 30 Iowa jails since the 1990s. Hansen recommended full-time, on-site project management and said he works with architects who can design for multiple potential sites.

At the Jackson County supervisors’ meeting Nov. 27, all three supervisors stayed relatively tight-lipped on their potential favorites. 

“One was more sophisticated, had a bigger team,” said Supervisor Mike Steines.

“I think it’s important to hear from the committee before we expound,” said Supervisor Jack Willey.

Reconsideration started after Jackson County residents failed to approve a $6.9 million bond referendum last August. The project received only 57 percent of the 60 percent approval needed to pass the referendum and build a new jail that to pass state inspections.

The jail advisory committee then began touring other recently built jails in the area and decided to contact other architects and general contractors.

The county’s $30,000 contract with Shive-Hattery was completed, according to committee members.

The committee had decided to build a new jail on a new site located just north of Wal-Mart but is reconsidering various options to build at the present location or incorporating the Penrose building to the west of the current jail.