Justice will be well-served by the new $19.5 million court and jail complex built in Davis County, state and local officials said Monday evening at the formal dedication of the facility.
The complex houses four courtrooms, the sheriff's and county attorney's offices, and a 368-bed state-of-the-art jail.Voters approved an $18.5 million bond issue in November 1987 to build the complex and the 43 acres of land it occupies in west Farmington was purchased the next spring. Construction began in March 1989 and the county attorney and sheriff's department moved into their new quarters two years later.
State justice officials, led by Utah Supreme Court Associate Justice Richard C. Howe, dedicated the four courtrooms in an afternoon ceremony Monday, and the remainder of the complex was dedicated by county officials in an evening ceremony.
Construction of the complex is a tribute to the residents of Davis County, Howe said, showing their commitment to the cause of justice.
"The concept of having your day in court, with all sides and facets of a controversy being aired, is fundamental to our justice system," Howe said. "And when there is justice, there is peace of mind.
"No one can come here and not feel the surroundings do not befit the seriousness of the purpose of dispensing justice," said Howe, calling the facility "magnificent."
State court administrator William Vickery also complimented the effort behind the facility, saying it symbolizes the individual and cooperative commitment of the county's residents and elected officials to the dispensing of justice.
At the second ceremony, commission chairman Gayle Stevenson called construction of the complex a commitment to the county's future, a farsighted act by county residents.
That commitment was underscored by the willingness of the county's residents to pass an $18.5 million bond issue, Stevenson said.
He also noted that in the proper spirit of the facility, the commission wants to remove the word "criminal" from the facility's sign, making it the Davis County Justice Complex instead of the criminal justice complex.
Commissioner J. Dell Holbrook, who worked in one of the county's previous facilities 25 years ago as a part-time jailer, said that experience in addition to his years in the construction business led him to conclude the new facility is "marvelous."
Sheriff Glenn Clary called it a "giant step" in jail construction. He, too, worked as a jailer with Holbrook 25 years ago, when the county's 16-cell jail was built with brick and the bars were 2-inch strips of strap iron.The new 368-bed jail is built in pods, with central electronic monitoring stations for corrections officers, the sheriff said, noting the facility has no bars.
"This jail has no bars, but it's one of the most secure I've ever seen," said Clary. "But I'm stopping short of calling it escape-proof. It's a good, secure facility, and I'm proud of it."
The formal dedication was done by Milton J. Hess, who served as county attorney for 18 years and who, 33 years ago to the day, dedicated the addition to the current courthouse in downtown Farmington.
The three-building complex totals 186,000 square feet, with the bulk of it - 75,000 square feet - devoted to the eight-pod jail facility. The sheriff's administrative offices are in a 60,000-square-foot adjoining building and the courts building contains 37,000 square feet. The remainder, 14,000 square feet, is for mechanical and support services.
The jail pods have a total of 192 cells, most of which are double-bunked and will hold a total of 368 inmates.
The current jail has a capacity of 108 inmates but contains an average of 140, with up to 175 on weekends. Inmates are sleeping on mattresses on the floor, according to the sheriff.
District Judge Rodney S. Page, who served on the jail study committee for almost eight years, said the new facility is the only one in the state he's aware of that was built voluntarily by county officials to relieve overcrowding, and not under a court order or judicial mandate.
Total cost of the complex to date is $19,465,723, according to the county's calculations.
All of the facility is operational except the jail itself, which should be ready to accept inmates in two to three weeks, according to the sheriff's department.
$150,000 in change orders approved
Three change orders totaling almost $150,000 for the county's new justice complex in west Farmington were approved Monday by the Davis County Commission.
The facility's total cost is calculated now at $19.5 million, according to the county.
Changes totaling $49,455 in the courtroom area were requested by the state and will be reimbursed by the state, which leases the court space from the county, budget analyst LaMar Holt to the commission.
A change order totaling $$52,000 was required to meet state fire and city building codes, Holt said.
The third change order, $47,000, was initiated by the county to double-bunk 32 cells in one of the jail's pods. It was decided to do the double-bunking now instead of after the jail is occupied, Holt said.