Wichita Co. Commissioners Court brings up apparent design flaw in new law enforcement center

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WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — An apparent design flaw that could pose a risk to both inmates and officers in the new Wichita County Law Enforcement Center will be corrected, at an added cost to the county.

Commissioners said an oversight in the design of drains for single-stall showers would lead to a potential flooding issue, and cost $234,000 to correct, which the bond money should cover, along with the contractor and architect sharing a small portion.

“My personal belief is that this is a architect, design, contractor failure, not just the county,” Wichita County Precinct Two Commissioner Mickey Fincannon said.

Fixes to the showers in Area F of the brand new law enforcement center were the center of attention in commissioners court.

“We had a conversation about 3 months ago where I said to you all ‘I’m tired of seeing these oversight problems,” Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom said.

Specifically, they said the drains won’t drain quickly enough and the overflow will end up in the cells, meaning inmates would have to be taken out, and both inmates and officers would be at risk with more contact in a slippery situation.

“You’re going to increase your chances of officer injury, inmate injury,” Wichita County Jail Captain Lisa Patterson said.

She added inmates in this area are not the general population, they’re special cases, those who’ve assaulted officers or have a mental illness.

“This a 100-year building, do we want to deal with the issue for 100 years?” Patterson said.

So to fix this issue, it was set to cost the county almost $235,000 but commissioners led by Mickey Fincannon, weren’t keen on the idea.

“I don’t understand why the county taxpayers would be on the foot of the bill for this solely,” Fincannon said.

This lively discussion led to a compromise: they’d cover 18% of the cost, knocking off more than $42,000.

“That’s what I try to do at any time I’m doing business at the county, I’m going to try and make the best decision for our employees, for our residents and for people that are paying taxes in our community,” Fincannon said.

Judge Gossom said they still aren’t sure if this will push back the opening date yet, there are still so many factors that go into it.

“I’ve always found, no matter what you do, the last 10% seems to take an inordinate amount of time, but I will say in this project, they seem to be moving at a faster pace finishing up bringing everything to a head,” Gossom said.

The law enforcement center was set to officially open on February 15, stick with Texoma’s Homepage to see if this new project delays that opening.

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