HANCEVILLE — Arranging for inmate housing may not rate alongside sponsoring festivals or buying new fire engines on the list of high-profile public projects, but it’s a necessary and legally-required part of operating a municipal police force and court system.
At Hanceville, locally-arrested inmates are housed in the Hanceville City Jail, a small area that, including the police dispatch office, occupies a tucked-away back area at City Hall. But after decades of slow population growth and no significant expansion, the city is getting ready to make more room at the jail.
The Hanceville City Council already has signed off on hiring an architect to plan the modest expansion, an 1,800 square-foot addition to the existing facility. Plans call for the jail to add ten new inmate cells, as well as showers, additional storage, and more office space. Until plans are finished, there’s not a set price tag for the expansion, but city officials are hoping to use a combination of federal relief funds and local revenues from next year’s fiscal-year budget to pay for the project.
Hanceville police chief Bob Long said that the expansion may also come with the new hiring of four additional corrections officers, though that’s a decision the city will broach once it’s got a better idea of how closely its funding will match its plans. The city council named Hanceville native Tim Burney as architect over the project at an April council meeting.
“We’re hoping to be able to start it soon,” said Long. “There are some things we’ve had to do inside our existing building to get ready before that can happen; we’ve had to re-route the antenna that carries all of our communications; some heat and air units, and things that will have to be changed to accommodate the expansion. Once that’s done, we’re hoping to break ground and have it finished over the summer.”