As McClain County continues to grow, the need for additional jail space and state-of-the-art communication equipment is a must to insure safety of citizens.

That’s the word from McClain County District No. 2 Commissioner Wilson Lyles.

“I read the story in last week’s newspaper with the interview with the sheriff,” Lyles said. “Since it was actually us, the county commissioners, who called for the proposed McClain County Public Safety Center, I figured we needed to add our opinion,” Lyles told The Purcell Register earlier this week.

“The commissioners feel this is of great importance to McClain County as we continue to grow,” Lyles said.

Commissioners have scheduled an election November 12 for a $23.75 million bond issue to build the complex on land northwest of Purcell on State Highway 74.

The 50,605 sq. ft. center will house the sheriff’s department, jail, emergency management and 911 call center. The jail will have the capacity to house 220 inmates.

The current jail is set up to house 53 prisoners.

Undersheriff Landy Offolter reported there were 112 in the jail when he arrived at work on Monday morning.

But Lyles reports its not entirely about the jail.

“Our schools have needed to pass bond issues for additional purposes over the years,” the commissioner said. “Along with the population growth we need to protect our citizens at home, on the streets and otherwise.

“As we welcome new citizens we need to provide the best law enforcement and 911 communication system that we can.

“We just need the folks to realize the importance of this,” Lyles continued. “It means so much not only for us but for our children and grandchildren. It’s also for the safety of the employees that work around the jail on a daily basis and provide communications for citizens in emergency situations.”

Lyles said he and the other commissioners are asking voters to consider this as a priority for McClain County and its future.

At the commissioner’s weekly meeting Monday morning at the courthouse, Lyles said commissioners voted to purchase new windows for the original courthouse building.

“The project was awarded to Cavins Construction for their bid of $305,250,” Lyles said. “This will help immensely on energy efficiency and stop some of the leaks and keep cold and hot air from entering into the building.”

The current jail was constructed and remodeling of the courthouse was done in 1994.

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