Wichita County commissioners are putting their stamp of approval on architectural designs for the new Wichita County Law Enforcement Center.

Contractors will be able to place their bids on the new facility this weekend. In under two years, a brand new jail will take the place of one of the last caged-jail facilities in the state. 

Dirt will be moving soon for Wichita County’s future Law Enforcement Center after voters approved a $70 million bond a year ago.

“To be where we are at now, it’s been a long time coming and we are really excited. I really can’t wait to get the ground breaking,” Sheriff David Duke said. 

On Thursday, county commissioners, architects and staff reviewed final construction documents, looked over renderings and went over the final cost and budget estimate for the facility. Sheriff Duke says moving the project forward is a milestone for the county.

“We’ve had other jails built in the last century. Nothing the size of this one to replace the ailing and the falling apart ones we have now,” Sheriff Duke said. “So this is something that should’ve happened probably 25 years ago.”

“Everything that’s required by the state jail commission is built. Everything that we need to do is taken care of within that $70 million,” commissioner Mark Beauchamp said.

County officials projected to spend under $60 million of the $70 million dollars. The extra ten million will be spent on jail additions.

“As we go out for bids that we may be able to bring some of the value engineering items that we have removed from the project,” Beauchamp said. “We may be able to bring those back in because of some of the numbers that we have seen.”

Sheriff Duke says Wichita County should  be set with the new jail and it would be able to avoid the costs of housing inmates in other counties for at least another 50 years. 

“It’s a different way to be able to manage inmates. It’s going to be a lot beneficial for the tax payers saving money and taking care of things instead of years of abuse and breakdowns. It just adds up,” Sheriff Duke said.

Plans for the facility will be sent to the state jail commission for final approval.

Bids will be reviewed by June 14 and county officials hope to break ground on the project in late July. They expect construction to take 20 months to complete.