FARMINGTON — Plans are taking shape for a new medical observation wing at the Davis County Jail, estimated to cost $9 million and targeted to open in 2021.

The County Commission on Tuesday ratified a $486,500 contract with the Archiplex Group to design the two-floor, 21,000-square-foot unit.

Officials anticipate the ground floor will have 13 individual male cells, six individual female cells, two group cells, a padded safety cell, exam rooms and showers — plus offices, a pharmacy and nursing prep area, according to county project documents.

Davis County Medical Wing proposed location

A look at the area where the new Davis County Jail medical wing will be built beside the existing jail.

The top floor will be mostly unfinished, available for possible future expansion or other uses.

Chief Deputy Sheriff Susan Poulsen said Wednesday officials expect the groundbreaking to take place by October and construction to last about a year.

Archiplex, based in Salt Lake City, has designed medical and other correctional spaces in several other Utah counties and at the state prison system’s Gunnison complex.

The new medical wing will be built in an open space between two existing parts of the county’s justice complex in Farmington.

Poulsen said the Sheriff’s Office continues to make the best of the existing medical unit, a six-cell area nearly 30 years old and routinely overflowing with patients.

“And there’s the coronavirus scare everybody’s worried about,” she said. “We haven’t had any suspected cases.”

Planning for the new wing began because of unprecedented numbers of Davis jail inmates suffering from substance abuse or mental health problems.

From 2016 to 2017, seven people died in the jail. Four of the deaths were suicides and the other three related at least in part to prescription or illegal drugs.

In all the deaths, training of corrections deputies and medical staff was raised as a potential area of concern, but for years Davis County Sheriff’s Office officials had cited the inadequacy of the original medical unit.

You can reach reporter Mark Shenefelt at mshenefelt@standard.net or 801 625-4224. Follow him on Twitter at @mshenefelt.

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