The Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office new Public Safety Complex is six months into construction. The 29- acre complex will provide additional space for training, programs and offenders.
"More flexibility, that's what this whole site is about," said Rob Reardon, Director of Corrections.
The current jail was built to hold a little over 300 offenders. Currently, 954 are being housed. The new complex will have 320 beds in the transitional work facility for work release offenders. The secure housing facility will have 216 beds for road crew inmates. There will also be a facility which will house video visitation and training programs for staff.
The complex will provide ways to save energy and money. A new computerized system will control heating and cooling to increase efficiency. In an effort to further save taxpayer dollars, a daylight harvesting system will be utilized.
"If we have a bright day, then the daylight harvesting system will shut off either some of the lights, or half of the lights, depending on how bright it is," said Captain Colby Barbier, projects manager. "This will save electricity by controlling the lights in the facility."
Barbier said they are also painting, landscaping and doing side-walk work to save additional funds, through inmate labor.
The complex is being built off of West Willow Street. The area will be patrolled by close to 70 officers. Barbier said the surrounding businesses have nothing to worry about as far as offenders being housed close by.
"The offenders in the work release program are out in the community every day. They are non-violent offenders, so there is no difference if they are housed here or in the other facility."
The 24- million dollar project is set to be completed in July, with a move-in date of November. Reardon said the best part of the facility, was the ability to add on in the future.
"As Lafayette Parish grows, there could be a need for more beds for more offenders. So in 30, 50 years, we could continue to build on this property."