The Edmond Sun

December 4, 2012

City jail will use innovative technique to comply with state standards

James Coburn
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Federal and state standards are being thoroughly followed by the architectural firm Frankfurt Short Bruza Associates in the design of the new Public Safety Center, City Councilman Nick Massey said.

The facility will use a secure solar tube to supply daylight to the jail cells, Massey said.

The 70,000-square-foot Edmond PSC will be built on a 1-acre site where the City of Edmond Administration Building currently stands at 100 E. First St. Laboratory, vehicles, evidence-based storage and other related functions will be located at a $3.5 million auxiliary building near 33rd Street and the railroad tracks.

Placing the jail beneath the parking lot will not prevent natural sunlight from entering the cells, which is a state standard, Police Major Steve Thompson said Tuesday. Frankfurt Short Bruza Associates is experienced in designing more than 200 jails, he added.

“We’re satisfied. We’ve already met with the state jail inspector. We talked about our unique situation with the jail underground,” Thompson said.

A place sequestered from cars in the parking lot will have a clear solar tube, secure and more narrow than a standard skylight, to transfer natural daylight to each cell, Thompson said.

“In fact our architect had never used solar tube before, but I suggested it and the jail inspector was good with it,” he continued.

Demolition will begin in January. Authorization by the City Council for the final design will begin in January followed by the bid process, said Steve Murdock, city attorney. Construction should take 18 months to two years and the building should open in early 2015.

The jail will include 10 male cells and five cells used by females, Thompson said. There will also be a detox holding tank and two isolation cells to be used when somebody is suicidal. Some of the female cells will hold four detainees while some of the male cells will be constructed for double occupancy.

A separate entrance on the northeast side of the building will be the detention entrance. Officers will drive to an underground  parking area to transfer a prisoner. A secure gate will prevent escape.

“It’s going to be state-of-the-art. It’s going to be what we need for Edmond right now,” Thompson said.