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More than 50 people joined Rowan County Fiscal Court last Friday morning as the county held the ribbon cutting for the new detention center on US 60 east.

It made a lot of sense the ribbon cutting for the new jail had to be held inside last Friday morning due to heavy rainfall.

Trace Creek Construction, project manager for the new jail, fought heavy rains tooth and nail for about two years, but all the hard work came to fruition as more than 50 people filled the entrance to the detention center for its ribbon cutting and tours last week.

“Here we are going to house people who aren’t playing by the rules, teaching them how to,” said Rowan County Judge-Executive Walter Blevins. “The majority of the people housed here will walk out of these doors again. With great training and programs we hope to steer them in the right direction.”

Jailer Wes Coldiron stated that the work of DLZ, the architect out of Frankfort, and Trace Creek, from Vanceburg, did excellent work. Work he says the community should be proud of.

“Those who have toured many jails, including ours, say it’s the nicest jail they’ve ever been in. That’s a testament to so many people’s hard work,” Coldiron said. “Within these walls we are going to try to teach them structure and provide the inmates with tools to make good decisions when they are released and their decisions are their own again.”

Coldiron said he hopes his current 120 inmates will be moved in this week and he will run the facility for a couple weeks to work out any bugs. After that, he will begin accepting inmates from other communities.

The new facility has a capacity of at least 275 inmates.

Sen. Steve West was on hand and said it was, yet again, another great day for Rowan County and this region.

“This is a much needed facility for this area,” West said. “Discussion of funding being cut could have been detrimental to this project, but through bipartisan work we were able to follow it through.

“Until we get our moral standards in order, there will always need to be a facility such as this,” West continued. “This is opening at the perfect time with the crisis of the opioid epidemic, and what local officials are telling me could be a meth crisis. It’s unfortunate that we need facilities such as this, but it’s great that it’s going to be used to its full potential.”

Blevins then introduced Rep. Rocky Adkins who was greeted with a standing ovation from all in attendance.

“We first must thank jailer Coldiron and his staff,” Adkins said. “My son works as a corrections officer so I know how difficult of a job this is. The staff should all be commended for their efforts to help rehabilitate these inmates and keep our community safe.

“This is a good day for not only this county, but also the region,” Adkins said. “We wish we didn’t have to talk about incarceration, but we do. We want those that reside here to make changes and ensure that they leave here a better person and a productive person in our society. That’s my hope of what happens here.”

Magistrate Ray White then spoke on the multiple partnerships across the state that made a $21 million project come in under budget and way under the contingency fund.

“This is a Rowan County facility, but we are going to rely on other counties to help fill us as they are seeing overcrowding as well,” said White. “I’m proud to see everything come to fruition as partnerships from all across the region were required to construct such a wonderful facility.

“We’ve eliminated the overcrowding issue that has plagued us for years and it’s been very stressful. We are blessed to have worked together to pull off such a project.”

Blevins and White also thanked Michele Jessee, county treasurer, for all her help in not only helping keep the budget in line for the jail, but the county in general.

Lincoln Caudill, deputy judge-executive, ended the ceremony with another token of thanks.

“So many people behind the scenes made this possible and they deserve a lot of thanks,” Caudill said. “I’d like to thank all the contractors, those individually who literally had a hand on this project. I’d also like to thank the taxpayers of Rowan County, Democrats or Republicans, you all paid for this and I know it’s something to be proud of.”

Brad Stacy can be reached at bstacy@themorehadnews.com or by telephone at 784-4116.

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