Jail Expansion Could Take Another Step Forward

A proposed expansion of the Musick jail is slated to take another step forward this week, with two approvals going before county supervisors.

While the 512-bed expansion – which would be largely funded by $100 million from the state – is supported by Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, it has faced pushback and a lawsuit from city leaders in neighboring Irvine.

Up for approval Tuesday is an analysis of operating costs, as well as approving the primary and alternate contractors for managing the project’s construction.

The analysis estimates the expansion will cost $42 million per year to operate, plus $1.3 million in start-up costs.

The vast majority of those operating costs would cover salary and benefits for 249 employees.

Funding to operate the expansion would come from public safety sales tax, prisoner realignment funds and the county general fund, however the analysis doesn’t break down how much would come from each source.

It’s unclear in the agenda documents who prepared the analysis.

(Click here to read the operating cost analysis.)

Vanir Construction Management, Inc. is being recommended as the primary construction management firm, with Jacobs Project Management Company as runner-up.

Vanir was recently hired by Los Angeles County to study options for its jail system. The firm recommended replacing that county’s Men’s Central Jail with a new facility at a cost of $1.7 billion to $2.3 billion.

Additionally, a 2010 audit by the Los Angeles Unified School District found that at least six staff members Vanir provided to the district for construction management did not have the minimum education and work experience requirements under the firm’s contract.

(Click here for agenda documents about the contractors, including bidding score sheets.)

If county supervisors move forward, Hutchens would negotiate contract terms and pricing with the firms and return to supervisors for approval.

Tuesday’s meeting starts at 9:30 a.m.

You can reach Nick Gerda at ngerda@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.