HERKIMER, N.Y. - Work on the new Herkimer County Correctional Facility is moving along.
Although construction of the $38 million facility was deemed essential, the pandemic still slowed down the process by about five months.
"COVID definitely caused us concerns," Jim Wallace, the Herkimer County Administrator said. “We’re really in the final stages, as everyone knows it’s been a 20 year journey for Herkimer County to build this facility. We’re probably a week or two away from a certificate of occupancy, we just have a few tests left so things are moving along fairly well.”
Sheri Ferdula, Herkimer County Budget Officer, says the Commission of Corrections will need to inspect the facility.
“In order for our people, the transition team and our corrections officers to go in and train, the commission is going to need the facility to be completely set up like it were ready to run today," Ferdula said. "We have already moved furniture into the building, we have rooms set up now. We don’t want to waste any time, we want to get in there as soon as possible.”
The new jail should help reduce the need for the county to board out inmates, which will save them money.
The current jail can hold 34 inmates.
“We’re now approaching 34 inmates, right at a spot where we may have to board out, so it's important to get the new facility finished and completed and people in," Wallace said.
The new facility can house up to 155 inmates.
There will be a transition process which could take about two to three months.
"Once we get our certificate of occupancy, it will probably be two to three months for staff to work out issues, and where the Commissioner on Corrections feels comfortable to let us bring inmates into the facility," Wallace said.
"We do have to keep both facilities running for a little while, that’s what slows up that process a little bit, you can’t just close and take everybody over," Ferdula said.
The hope is to start housing inmates early next year.