New Grant County Jail

Welcome to the Central Services "New Jail" blog, which is intended to provide general information to the public and stay up to date on the progress of the new jail.

The creator of content for this blog is the Central Services Director, Tom Gaines. I will endeavor to keep this updated often but currently have no exact timeline for posting updates. You can subscribe to the blog here and select this blog under the "blog" category. By subscribing, you will receive notifications whenever I do provide updates.

You may contact me directly at the County Courthouse, 509-754-2011 extension 3276, with questions or concerns, and I will gladly try to answer any questions one may have. It is intended to provide public information for a project that could have a significant and positive impact on the community. Members of the public are always invited to contact the elected official for their district and voice concerns if they so desire.

Sep 26

How will we Build the Jail?

Posted on September 26, 2022 at 7:39 AM by Tom Gaines


This jail is a large project. More significant than most. How Cities, Towns, and Counties perform this type of work varies. It even varies for port and school districts, with many RCWs (state laws) dictating how we do everything from advertising and award to how we may fund a project.

For Counties specifically, when a project is expected to cost over ten million dollars, it opens the door to an alternative public works delivery process we are not capable of accessing for standard bid projects.

The term is called General Contractor/Construction Manager (sometimes also "at risk.) or GC/CM or GC/CM (at risk). The GC/CM process is broken down into two contract phases. The first contract phase, the design phase, allows the contractor to work with the designer and the project owner to identify risks, provide cost projections and refine the project schedule. Once the design phase is complete, the contractor and project owner negotiate the price for the construction contract. If all parties agree with costs, the second contract phase, the construction phase, is kicked off, and construction begins.

This process has been proven to be a very efficient way to perform a project of this size and allows numerous people to help ensure the public funds are appropriately managed. Before we can do this, however, in Washington State, you must present your project to the "Capital Project Advisory Review Board" (CPARB), and they will accept or deny it. If accepted, the County receives a designation allowing them to perform this "alternative" delivery method. It allows us to forgo the standard "lowest responsive bidder" method we must still follow for all other projects.

Friday, the 23rd of September, we presented our project to CPARB, and they unanimously voted to allow us to proceed. This was a great day and another step toward building the new jail. This week, the County will deliver its Comprehensive Land Use application to the City for consideration and further action as we need to bring the purchased parcels into the Urban Growth Area (UGA) so we may access city services such as water and sewer. Next, we are already formulating a "Request for Qualifications" to invite General Contractors to provide their statements as to why they are best suited to lead this project. We will interview a predetermined number and select that General. It may not seem like anything is happening. Still, many administrative processes are happening in the background that will bolster this project and ensure it is completed correctly.

Jul 13

Candidate Briefing

Posted on July 13, 2022 at 5:33 PM by Tom Gaines


Today we held a meeting for those running for County Commissioner and Sheriff. The County thought it was important for candidates to understand where we are on the jail program. The meeting was held in person, and the Public had a WebEx link to attend.

The meeting was well attended. The three sitting commissioners were present, as were the Grant County Prosecutor, the Mayor of the City of Ephrata, the City's Public Works Director, and members of the City Council. Members of our corrections division, the interim Sheriff Ryan Rectenwald, the Director of Renew, County employees, and a member of the Public. We had all three Sheriff candidates and one of the commissioner candidates.

We provided information about the "Special-Use" bed space, referred to as Behavioral health, the nuance behind that, and expectations for the future. Numerous questions were asked, and (in my opinion) a good dialogue was achieved. It was eye-opening to some, and hopefully, everyone understood just how significant this project is and the opportunity to have a major impact on our community.

We also discussed the purchase of the old race track, what led us to that purchase, and the reasoning behind purchasing the three parcels.

This project must be viewed from all angles. I, for one, appreciated the attendees' questions and frankness. We hope the Candidates are left with a better understanding of where we are and where we are headed and that everyone recognizes we are focused on an excellent project that can serve the community for many years to come. Thanks! to all who attended and for making the time to learn about the task in front of us.

A question was asked to which I did not have an immediate or confident answer. The question was regarding manpower needed for the new jail. I have had many staff discussions, and the numbers did not come to me immediately. After speaking with the architect, If the new jail was constructed and we were moving in tomorrow, and the corrections division was fully staffed, yes, it is believed they have the personnel to operate the new jail without adding staff. However, we are tackling the "special use beds" or behavioral health issues as best we can, which may mean adding some staff once that programming is complete. We aren't quite there yet. 

As always, I am easy to find, and I understand if today's brief created more questions about other processes we have performed in getting us to this point. I will make myself available to provide more detailed conversations to the candidates if they wish to delve further into the lengthy details.  

May 09

Our social media lookouts

Posted on May 9, 2022 at 11:30 AM by Tom Gaines


As discussed in previous posts, we are performing survey work at the new jail site. One of these surveys is a traffic study. You will see the traffic counter across the highway near Route 282 and Walmart. We have an estimated number of trips per day to and from the new jail. We will combine this with the amount of traffic we see from the counter and collaborate with the city and the WSDOT to inform a future decision regarding a possible round-a-bout. I don't know if one will be built, but the numbers and the collaboration between the various entities who know more about this than I do will dictate that intersection's future needs (if any).

The Public should be aware that they will see survey crews near the road and maybe in areas they are not used to seeing anyone. It doesn't mean we are building anything but simply marking out the boundaries so we can effectively plan.

Those on social media have spotted the excavator on site. The purpose of the excavator is to dig test pits. These pits help us determine soil composition, which provides data on the soil and its percolation rates. This data is needed to engineer the foundations of any new buildings, understand the soil loading limitations (if any)  and deal with stormwater runoff and absorption rates.

I know this blog is not being updated that often. I am trying to update it as things progress and currently, there isn't a lot happening. Anyone with questions or concerns can reach out to me directly, and I can try to answer any questions they might have.