By Marshanna C. Smith
Kansas City, Mo. (May 9, 2023) – The reality of a new and re-envisioned Jackson County Detention Center took a major step today as the Jackson County Legislature voted unanimously to approve the guaranteed maximum price (GMP) for building the new facility. Together with the GMP, the project design has also been approved allowing the project to move forward with construction. The financing of the project was authorized last week by the Legislature.
“This detention center project is not only a milestone for our justice system but also an engine of economic growth and job creation. We’ve made a commitment to prioritize local hiring and partnering with diverse and minority-owned businesses to bring our vision of a safe, secure and rehabilitative facility to life,” said Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. “I would like to express my gratitude to all of the stakeholders who have contributed to this thorough process which has resulted in a facility that is responsive to our current needs and reflective of the values and aspirations of our community.”
With the assistance of JCDC Partners LLC, the county’s owner’s representative, a platform for thoughtful solutions based on trust, transparency and justice with dignity formed the framework for the project. Guiding principles were set for each phase of the project to encourage respectful best practices, dignified detainment, and social service collaboration to decrease recidivism within the community.
County stakeholders emphasized the project would not only solve the issues of overcrowding and deteriorating facilities but would also provide a fresh vision and renewed purpose for how the county can best serve those within the facility.
“I am proud to have sponsored the legislation of our new detention center, which represents an important step forward in our efforts to create a more just and equitable justice system,” said Jackson County Legislature Chairman DaRon McGee, 4th District. “This facility will be built with safety and humanity in mind and I believe it will serve as a model for other communities looking to improve their correction infrastructure. I want to extend my gratitude to my colleagues on the legislature for keeping our community safe and I look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on our community.”
“As with any significant infrastructure project, we have faced some challenges during this lengthy process. But within those challenges, we have engaged in thoughtful conversations from every perspective of the criminal justice system,” said Jackson County Legislator Jeanie Lauer, 5th District. “All of the work, time and collaboration has proven that building a jail of this size is justified and today we can confidently move forward knowing we’ve done our due diligence on behalf of the residents we serve.”
The County’s $300 million investment is a significant economic investment into the Blue River Industrial Corridor. Spanning nearly 450,000 square feet, the facility will be built to accommodate 1,000 beds with support services for additional expansion as needed. A visual reflection of the county’s public safety system, the approval of the design and GMP is a key step into the project’s vision.
Designed to meet both the immediate and future needs of Jackson County, the new detention center will include educational resources and social services programs geared toward reducing relapse into the system and encouraging those within to be productive members of society. Behavioral health and healthcare services will also be provided on-site.
“Justice must be served, but it is our duty to ensure that those who have made mistakes are given the opportunity to rehabilitate, learn from their actions and turn their lives around. This new facility makes it possible for our staff to integrate whole-person care services, while ensuring safe and effective operations,”said Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forté. “I’m honored to lead a group of corrections professionals who are dedicated to public safety and believe approval of this project is not only an investment in their growth, but the success of our justice system and well-being of our community.”
With both the financing and the GMP in place for the project, construction will proceed immediately. The design builder, JE Dunn + Axiom Construction + DLR Group, expects the site development to begin next week.
“Our team has remained steadfast in our commitment to delivering a facility that meets the highest standards of safety, efficiency and sustainability,” said Daniel Felder, Chief Executive Officer of Axiom Construction Group. “This is a collaboration that will inspire change. How we partner, how we serve the community, how we build – all of this together is how we change lives.”
“Working closely with our owner’s representative and contractors, I have witnessed firsthand the incredible amount of patience and hard work that goes into bringing a project like this to fruition,” said Jackson County Administrator Troy Schulte. “Collaborating with multiple stakeholders, managing complex timelines and ensuring all parties are working toward a shared vision can be challenging, but it is also very rewarding. I am incredibly proud of our team and believe that the dedication and perseverance that has been shown will be reflected in the final product – a first-class detention center we can all be proud of that meets the County’s needs for many years to come.”
Jackson County leaders began the process of evaluating the need for a new detention center nearly eight years ago. Through a community-based task force and a series of studies, the County leadership concluded a new facility would not only improve the cost to the taxpayers to operate and maintain the facility but incorporate a guiding principle for the county within the design and operation for the facility, Justice with Dignity.
About the Project: Location: 7000 E US Hwy 40 in Kansas City, Missouri, 64129
449,744 square feet 1,000 beds with space to serve support services
Estimated completion date Fall 2025
More information can be found at jcdetentioncenter.com
About the Team:
Providing guidance and technical knowledge throughout the various phases of the project, JCDC Partners is the Owner’s Representative for the project.
Kansas City-headquartered JE Dunn team was selected through a competitive process to design and build the new facility, along with minority-owned joint venture firm Axiom Construction and architectural firm, DLR Group.