Commission approves storage building, flooring for events center

File photo Renovations at the jail include motion sensors in mechanical rooms, new ceilings in the laundry, kitchen, visitation areas and annex, upgrades to controls and a new control station.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

County commissioners approved more than $280,000 in bids for the Special Events Center and $500,000 for improvements at the jail at today’s meeting.

Construction of a $119,900, 50-by-100-foot storage building on the grounds of the Special Events Center was awarded to Anderson Building Co. of Clovis.

Finance Manager Mark Lansford told commissioners construction of the building, which will be similar in appearance to the SEC and will be located in the northwest corner of the property, will include electrical wiring and roughed in plumbing hookups.

“There is very little storage space in the Special Events Center,” Lansford said, but a place to put portable flooring and other items when they are not being used is needed.

“This building will help alleviate that,” he said.

Commissioners also approved the purchase of a $164,735 portable flooring system from Highland Products Group, Boca Raton, Fla.

The flooring, which can be installed in approximately three hours by a 20-person work crew, will cover the SEC’s dirt arena floor when needed for certain events.

Lansford also told commissioners progress is being made on obtaining $1.5 million in amenities for the facility, with the installation of roping chutes and animal pens expected later this month.

The $500,000 transfer of funds from county reserves will pay for upgrades at the jail.

Included in the jail renovation are motion sensors in mechanical rooms, new ceilings in the laundry, kitchen, visitation areas and annex, upgrades to controls and a new control station.

The upgrades and repairs were items called for by a security consulting company hired after eight inmates escaped Aug. 24, County Manager Lance Pyle said.

Commissioners also approved a resolution 4-1, with Chairman Frank Blackburn issuing the dissenting vote, to hold meetings at the Clovis Carver Library’s North Annex, beginning April 7 and to hold one meeting per-quarter in outlying communities.

Pyle said any special or emergency meetings of the commission outside scheduled meetings will be held at the courthouse.

In other business:
• At the prompting of Commissioner Bobby Sandoval, commissioners discussed bringing forth a burn ban because of lack of rain and anticipated wind in the coming season.
Commissioner Caleb Chandler said he would like to have Texico, Melrose and Clovis’ fire chiefs come and speak to the commission about fire risks for the county.
• Chandler said he would like the commission to consider creating a “family section” at the SEC where no alcohol consumption would be allowed.
“We would have to determine how big to make it and we would have to enforce it,” Chandler said.
• Commissioner Bobby Sandoval also told commissioners he liked the change in the public comment portion of the meeting. It was moved to the top of the agenda with a second opportunity for public comment at the end of the meeting.
“I don’t think we should penalize people two and three hours,” he said, by making them wait until the end of the meeting to comment.
• Chandler said he would like to see operating procedures and rules created for the commission and its meetings.
Commissioners agreed to review and compare “Robert’s Rules of Order”, widely recognized procedures for holding meetings, along with the policies and rules for other area entities.
“I guess we’ve been lucky that nobody’s contested anything (before),” Sandoval said, offering his support for the suggestion.
• Jail Administrator Lois Bean introduced Brian Germany, who she recently hired to fill the position of classification specialist and investigator.
Germany said he has a background in detention and managed the classification of a 600-population jail in Texas.
He said he plans to evaluate the way classification is conducted a the facility and review policy before he begins making changes.
“I’m going to try to keep the problems down and try to educate the officers on how to properly house the inmates,” he said.
Bean said the facility currently has 284 inmates and staffing is down seven officers, two sergeants and one specialist.