MINOT, N.D. - Ward County is facing some budget challenges for next year, and it comes at a time when the county will soon debut its jail addition.
Construction crews continue working on the Ward County Jail Addition, inside, and out.The addition will nearly triple the county jail's beds from just over 100 to 300.
"Right now we're starting the punch-list process on the lower level. That's the sheriff's office. And that actually starts at the end of next week,” said Brian Kunz, with Adolfson & Peterson Construction.
Sheriff Bob Barnard said the layout of the jail gives correctional officers a better and safer view of the cells. The addition comes at a tough budgeting time for the county. Barnard said he proposed a 2018 budget for the jail that's 23 percent higher than this year.
“I don't want to cut any corners with the new jail. We want to make sure that it opens on time. We want to make sure that it runs efficiently and it runs correctly. So we're not going to reduce the budget to the point where that's compromised,” said Barnard.
Barnard said he managed to cut roughly $226,000 from his total budget. As for the jail, crews continue to make progress, and they say they are ahead of schedule.
Construction crews plan to turn over at least part of this new facility to his department by mid-October, and he said he hopes to start moving in inmates by the end of the year.
“We're gonna have to add more staff. We plan on adding six new staff at the beginning of the year, and starting to get them trained,” said Barnard.
Barnard said as of now, he has a dozen inmates housed at the Heart of America Correctional Center in Rugby, but looks forward to changing that when the new jail opens.
Barnard also said the Sheriff’s offices will move into the new part of the jail, making more room in the old jail for medical treatment.