volusia county jail

The coronavirus pandemic has taught Volusia County many things, and one is the need for a larger inmate-isolation dormitory at the county jail.

As the pandemic eases and the virus shows signs of weakening, the county will prepare for future illness by building a dormitory especially for inmates requiring extra care and quarantine from uninfected inmates. The new unit will have 64 beds, larger than the old 58-bed facility it is replacing.

The jail can accommodate about 1,500 inmates, and the average daily count is in the 1,400-plus range, including both people arrested and awaiting trial and those serving sentences for crimes of which they have been convicted.

The County Council has already hired a Daytona Beach firm, A.M. Weigel Construction Inc. LLC, to serve as construction manager and to handle contracting for the facility. Weigel was the only respondent to the county’s request for proposals to provide services in building the medical-isolation unit.

The completion and opening of the new unit are probably quite a bit more than a year away, according to County Engineer Tadd Kasbeer.

“We haven’t even started design yet,” he said.

Dewberry Architects, of Orlando, will design the facility, and Kasbeer noted it will likely take at least eight or nine months. Then follows the county’s request for bids for construction, which may take three months.

“Probably eight to 12 months,” Kasbeer replied when asked how much time the whole process may take. The construction phase could last longer, given the uncertainties of availability of needed supplies.

“We assume there will be material-supply issues that will take 6-8 months,” Kasbeer wrote in a follow-up email.

The estimated cost of the quarantine unit at the jail, including design and engineering, as well as the construction, is approximately $4 million. 

The cost will be covered by federal funds the county received under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act — perhaps better known as the CARES Act — passed by the Congress and signed into law by former President Donald Trump in March 2020.

Of the $2.2 trillion spending authorized by the bill to counter and alleviate the burdens and dangers of the deadly disease, Volusia County received approximately $96 million.


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