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A ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Rowan County Detention Center will be held on Friday at 10 a.m. Tours open to the public will be held from about noon until 6 p.m. (Photo by Brad Stacy)

It has been about a four-year process from start to finish, but the new Rowan County Detention Center will officially open its doors at the end of this month.

A special ribbon cutting ceremony for the new facility is slated for this Friday, July 20, at 10 a.m. Tours available to the public will be held after the ceremony from about noon until 6 p.m.

The 275-plus inmate jail is being built on the former site of the Kentucky Tobacco Warehouses, off US 60 east.

Frankfort’s DLZ has served as the architect on the project while Vanceburg’s Trace Creek Construction has been the construction manager.

Rowan County broke ground on the $20.7 million detention center in July 2016, about two years after the Kentucky Department of Corrections (DOC) authorized the county to move forward.

The jail was constructed to help with the significant overcrowding issues with the current facility.

The current jail was built to hold about 78 inmates, however, it averages more than 110 and sometimes reaches up to 140.

Morehead State agreed to pay $1 million for the current jail with possession to be taken over in 2016.

An extended use agreement was made with the county, however, and the final cost will most likely be in the $600,000-$700,000 range due to the delay, according to county treasurer Michele Jessee.

MSU President Dr. Jay Morgan said during Rowan Fiscal Court on Tuesday morning the exchange is tentatively scheduled for July 31.

Builders faced a few challenges in the process including an extremely wet summer in 2017 and multiple change orders enforced by the DOC in the middle of construction.

While multiple changes were required to complete the project, the orders only added up to $402,437.67, a fraction of the 10 percent contingency often allowed on projects of this type.

By housing state, federal, or out-of-county inmates at a minimum rate of $35 per day, the county hopes it can make a little revenue on the facility.

The jail features three long wings to house inmates in various room sizes, along with a separate work release area.

There is a full-body scanner to check for contraband, two indoor recreation rooms, classrooms, medical bay, and video conferencing for both visitors and judges with the courts.

More than a dozen new jobs have been added with the new facility.

Brad Stacy can be reached at or by telephone at 784-4116.