San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

October 14th, 2009
Court gives go-ahead to emergency jail repairs

Managing Editor

Hoping to satisfy a state agency’s demand to fix potential health and safety problems in the county jail, the Hays County Commissioners Court on Tuesday approved a plan that calls for $1.4 million in emergency repairs to the 20-year-old facility.

Last month, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards gave officials until Nov. 5 to show “substantial progress” toward resolving a range of problems, many of which are related to a leaky roof and dated ventilation system that brings moisture into the building.

Invited into the facility by Sheriff Tommy Ratliff, who did not attend this week’s court session when repairs and renovations were discussed, state inspectors in April and again in September found mold and mildew on the walls of a walk-in cooler and rust on metal throughout the building including on food passes and partition walls.

At Tuesday’s court session, project manager Phil Buterbaugh of Broaddus & Associates engineering and consulting firm presented an itemized program for addressing deficiencies identified by the Jail Standards commission, calling them a “pretty good Band-Aid,” especially compared to the $20 million to $25 million estimated cost of a new jail.

“To cut to the bottom line, this is the total cost to the county of all the things we can conceive of that needs to be done to get you back in the good graces of the Jail Standards commission,” Buterbaugh said. “…We could find some big surprises but that gives you a number you can work with.”

The biggest ticket items in his program include $538,540 for a new roof; $350,000 to replace rooftop air conditioning and heating units; $108,100 to patch and repair concrete; and $80,000 to insulate and replace the walls of the walk-in coolers. The program also includes $180,000 for a contractor’s OH&P, $110,000 for professional services fees and $283,398 in contingencies.

San Marcos Mercury Managing Editor Brad Rollins writes for the Hays Free Press where this story originally appeared. See a longer version on the Free Press Web site at

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