Construction site

Work is underway at the new Trinity County Jail site. Above, what looks like a moat has been constructed at the top end of the property to ensure proper drainage.

Though the walls haven’t started going up yet, construction of a new Trinity County jail in Weaverville is well under way now with the foundation being poured this week and last.

“What you see is a project that’s about 20 percent complete. It’s unbelievable how much work has gone in just to get to this point. The guts of the building are all underground,” said Trinity County Director of Transportation Rick Tippett who is providing financial administration of the project on the county’s behalf.

The official groundbreaking ceremony was in June as the project contractor, Sletten Construction, began work on the $20 million building. With completion anticipated by the end of 2020 and occupancy by early 2021, the new building will replace the county’s existing 53-bed jail with a modern, 72-bed facility that includes space for mandated inmate treatment programs, enclosed exercise yard, a medical office, warming/prep kitchen, administrative offices of the Sheriff’s Department and state-of-the-art county dispatch center.

The county already owned the land for the project adjacent to its juvenile detention facility and the Weaverville airport. However, all utilities including sewer, water and electrical wiring had to be extended to the site and installed underground. What looks like a moat has been constructed at the top end of the property to ensure proper drainage and prevent any impacts downslope during the rainy season.

Because the building will house the county’s emergency dispatch center, it must be built to the strongest standards, Tippett said, noting that disaster-resistant components were designed into the structure.

Regarding the project’s current status, he said the sewer is in and water line will be connected this week. Foundation pouring began last week and will be finished by the end of this week. Then the walls will start to rise, and by early next year there will be a roof. Sletten crews will work through the winter, weather permitting.

The project is being funded by a $20 million grant from the California Board of State and Community Corrections awarded to the county in 2016, requiring a $2 million matching contribution from the county. An additional contribution of around $2 million by the county is also anticipated to complete certain aspects of the project not covered by the grant, including road improvements to access the site.

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