Weber County leaders pick firm to design proposed jail upgrade
OGDEN — Weber County officials have picked a firm to come up with designs for the proposed upgrade to the county jail, another step forward in talk of expanding the facility.
GSBS Architects of Salt Lake City will handle the design work, which will cost around $1 million, according to Weber County Sheriff Ryan Arbon.
“They’re going to do the architectural design and see what fits, what looks right, the functionality,” Arbon said. Proposed overhauls, perhaps three of them, and cost estimates will come out of the work, which Arbon expects to finish by the end of June.
With that info, Weber County commissioners, Arbon and others will decide the next course of action — which overhaul to go with, if any, and how to cover the cost of the work. An earlier estimate put the cost of upgrading the jail — increasing its capacity and upgrading its medical facilities — at $62.4 million, which officials have said could necessitate a property tax hike.
“At this time, we don’t know exactly how much of an expansion there needs to be totally,” Arbon said at Tuesday’s Weber County Commission meeting, when the officials approved the selection of GSBS. He said the firm will come up with three different overhaul proposals.
Commissioner Gage Froerer said the focus as the initiative progresses should be on the needs of the county. “We want to determine the needs for the citizens of Weber County, not just the wants that may look good on paper,” he said.
Commissioner Sharon Bolos underscored the enormity of the proposed expansion. “It’s going to be a big lift and we want to make sure we’re doing the right thing,” she said.
Talk of upgrading the jail, which dates to 2021, initially centered on upgrading the medical offerings in the facility. Later, officials spoke of expanding it so it could handle more inmates as well. The jail is located at the Weber County Sheriff’s Office complex at 1400 Depot Drive.