Fulton County

Commissioners cancel $1.7B Fulton jail rebuild, greenlit $300M renovation instead

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — The Fulton County Board of Commissioners have voted to cancel plans for now to fully rebuild the Fulton County Jail. Instead, it greenlit up to $300 million for renovations.

The decision comes just days from the first anniversary of the U.S. Department of Justice opening a civil rights investigation into the deficiencies at the Fulton County Jail.

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The vote passed 4-3 in the Fulton County Commissioner’s meeting Wednesday.

Chairman Robert Pitts, and Commissioners Bridget Thorne, Bob Ellis and Khadijah Abdur-Rahman voted in favor of the renovations, while Commissioners Dana Barrett, Natalie Hall and Marvin S. Arrington, Jr. voted against the plan.

The funds set aside by county officials for pre-construction costs of replacing the jail will be repurposed to the current rehabilitation effort instead, according to documents from the board.

Simply put, this approval will be done with renovations in phases, but first they’re going to do another top-down assessment of the facility, examining everything from HVAC systems to plumbing to fire alarms, inventory checks and structural integrity.

They’ll also be putting together a 10-year spending plan to make the project happen.

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To start off, the assessment will separate needs into the following categories, according to a scope of work document:

  • Currently Critical
  • Potentially Critical
  • Not Yet Critical
  • Recommended
  • Appearance

The next steps for the project will be determining what items have higher capital requirements, meaning what they need to spend on first to achieve success.

Overall, the budget was set at $170 million to $300 million, with a caveat that the needs of the renovations may exceed the budget.

The county will also be developing a plan for inmate housing during construction efforts and will have to provide estimates for future needs during the design phase.

Documents from the county board show that this plans to include a future transition to a new facility as one option for relieving population size challenges at the current jail facility.

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