Jail renovation scheduled to be completed this spring

Construction from outside of the Ross County Jail towards the beginning of the project in March 2019.
Construction from outside of the Ross County Jail towards the beginning of the project in March 2019.

CHILLICOTHE— Renovations for the Ross County Jail are scheduled to be completed this spring after four years of complications.

Jail Administrator Major William White said it's currently estimated "at the end of April, first of May for a full completion date... I'm never optimistic that that time frame is going to hold."

He believes the project will be completed mid-summer.

White said the weather, COVID-19, supply chain shortages and problems with construction workers have slowed the renovation in the past few months.

The project includes work completed to the entry plaza, replacement work on the cement plaster, replacement of existing cell windows and detention doors, frames, hinges and locks, kitchen renovations, replacement of existing elevators and cell toilets, completion of the roof renovations, completion of the renovations to the exterior walkways, installation of flat roof edge components, metal flashing, replacing all of the metal roof and other renovations.

Most renovations are completed, but the booking area, master control and the elevator inside the corrections division are still under construction.

More on the Ross County Jail Project

Palmetto Construction was originally hired to take on the job in March 2018 and was scheduled to complete the job by October 2018. Palmetto pushed back the final completion date several times, with the finalized date being November 2019.

Palmetto Construction withdrew from the project February 2019, four months after the original completion date. The company defaulted on the project March 2019, leaving the project unfinished for over a year.

At the time the company defaulted, about $1.2 million had already been paid to Palmetto and only about 25 percent of the necessary work had been completed, said the Ross County Board of Commissioners.

Ross County Administrator Brad Cosenza said the lawsuit against Palmetto by Ross County is still ongoing.

"[Palmetto] bellied up, that put us into a long delay," Sheriff George Lavender said. "Then Elford came in and done a fairly decent job at it."

May 2020, Ross County Commissioners received a final bid from Elford Inc, a Columbus-based construction company that are working on finishing the project. Palmetto estimated the renovation at $5.5 million in 2018, but Elford gave a maximum price of $9.4 million, almost double the original cost.

"We're still working with it. It's going to be a while to get completed," Lavender said. "Seems like it's been forever, though, when you look at when this originally started."

Megan Becker is a reporter for the Chillicothe Gazette. She can be reached at 740-349-1106, email her at mbecker@gannett.com or follow her on Twitter @BeckerReporting

This article originally appeared on Chillicothe Gazette: Ross County Jail renovation scheduled to be completed this spring