Regional jail site is purchased

The eventual construction of a regional jail to house inmates from Rappahannock County and two other counties moved a step closer with the purchase last week of two parcels of land in Warren County.

The Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren (RSW) Regional Jail Authority has purchased 13.7597 acres at 6573 Winchester Road in Front Royal for the site of a regional adult detention center.

The Authority purchased the property, which lies off U.S. 340-522, for $915,000 from The Bank of Clarke County Trust Department, executor of the estate of Homer Gilliam, Jr., according to a news release from Adams-Nelson & Associates, Inc., of Winchester, which facilitated the sale.

Another roughly 14-acre parcel was purchased from Frank Brugh, trading as Brugh-Thru, for just over $1.24 million, according to a report in the Northern Virginia Daily.

“These were two parcels that were studied for the better part of two years. They were under option by Warren County which exercised that option,” explained Rappahannock County Administrator John W. McCarthy, who is a member of the regional jail authority.

“The next step in the process is the hiring of architects and engineers with construction over the next years,” he added.

The 375-bed regional jail will be built three miles north of I-66, near Fairground Road in Warren County. The decision to move ahead with the project followed several years of discussion and planning by officials in Rappahannock, Shenandoah, and Warren Counties who needed a solution to overcrowding in their individual county jails.

In April, state legislators approved the sale of $32.8 million worth of bonds to pay for up to half of the construction costs for the regional jail, which is scheduled for completion in 2014. The design phase is expected to begin next month and be completed by September 2011. Construction is expected to begin in 2012.

The process is “on track and on course,” McCarthy said.

Rappahannock County will hold approximately a 6 percent share of the $60 million debt for the jail project that is not covered by state funds.

Separately, Rappahannock County is adding office space and an evidence storage area to the existing county jail in the town of Washington.

A new wing, in the same red-brick, metal-roof design as the county clerk’s building, will extend at a right angle from the end of the jail building closest to Gay Street.

The $90,000 project will be paid for by proceeds of the Sheriff’s Office’ work release program. Jail inmates are providing some of the labor.

McCarthy said the site has been cleared and excavation was due to begin this week. Footers for the foundation will go in next.

“We want to have it framed up and roofed over by winter,” McCarthy said.

Completion of the project is expected in late spring or early summer.

McCarthy said the holding cell area will likely be used for storage and file space since it would be too costly to convert the space for staff to work in.

The cell area is made of poured concrete block and lighting is poor, he said. The cells measure 6 by 6 feet.

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James Ivancic is a reporter for the Fauquier Times in Warrenton, Va. Contact him at