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Warren County sheriff wants faster action on new jail building

Warren County Sheriff Larry Sims expressed impatience today with efforts to build a new county jail.

Sims called for quick action after listening to the architect hired to design the estimated $50 million facility lay out the options. Those still range from renovation and expansion, to replacement of the facility in the county government complex in Lebanon, to new construction on a new site on the edge of Lebanon.

RELATED: After delay, Warren County moves ahead with construction of new jail

Asked when he wanted to get started, Sims answered, “Last September.”

That was when the commissioners hired KZF Design, a Cincinnati firm that planned to collaborate with California-based Dewberry on the project, rather than Wachtel & McAnally, another Ohio-based firm favored by Sims and a committee set up to rate candidates for the job.

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But negotiations broke down and the commissioners authorized negotiations with Wachtel & McAnally last month.

It has been more than two years since a Cleveland-based consultant presented the commissioners a study of the need for a new jail.

RELATED: New year, new sales tax rate to help pay for new jail

In January, the county sales tax has been increased 0.25 percent to cover financing of the project.

After today’s presentation to the commissioners, Wachtel & McAnally was meeting with Sims and his staff to weigh the options.

The architect was expected to come back to the commissioners with a recommendation as the county moved to pick a construction manager for the project.

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