County approves $2 million agreement for jail system updates

Bartholomew County Commissioners have approved a nearly $2 million contract with a Bloomington company to upgrade the mechanical systems in the county jail.

Two weeks ago, the County Commissioners chose Harrell-Fish of Bloomington for the heating and cooling system project, and also authorized four alternates for the project that would bring the total cost  to $1.98 million dollars. Monday morning the commissioners approved the agreement with Harrell-Fish.

Charlie Day with DLZ Engineering said the next steps will be a pre-construction meeting with the contractor. The project is estimated to take up to 300 days, or about 10 months to complete, but that could be further affected by material shortages, Day said.

The county budgeted $1.3 million for the project to come from federal COVID-19 relief funds instead of the county general funds. Auditor Pia O’Conner pointed out that the American Recovery Plan specifically allows funds to be used to improve air handling systems in correctional facilities.

County Commissioner Larry Kleinhenz said that if weren’t for the federal funding, the project would probably have been delayed for up to three years to line up the funding through the regular county budget.