Recent precipitation has caused some minor delays in construction on the new Woodward County Jail, Sheriff Gary Stanley said Tuesday.

There have been 2 incidents where cold and ice have put the work on hold for 3- or 4-day stretches, the sheriff said.

“So that has slowed us down a little,”  he said.

The work had to be delayed “because ice makes the footing treacherous” for the workers, he said.

Also, Stanley said if the temperature gets below a certain level then the cement used for mortar in the block walls will freeze instead of hardening properly.

However, warmer temperatures Tuesday saw more blocks being installed to complete inmate cells on the top floor of the 3-story structure.

“Hopefully, we can get cells (completed) up there soon, and then a roof maybe in 3 to 4 weeks,” Stanley said.

Also Tuesday, he said workers were completing work on the final 20 of a total of 108 geothermal wells that have been installed to provide heating and air for the new facility.  

Work on the $10 million facility began in May last year.  It is currently targeted for completion on Aug. 26, the sheriff said.

This would have the new jail complete in just 2 years after voters approved a sales tax increase to finance construction of the jail.

Once complete the new jail will be capable of housing 140 prisoners.  This would more than triple the listed capacity of the current jail, which is officially 41 beds.

However, there are currently 63 inmates confined in the jail, the sheriff said.   But the county population is considered to be 65 by state jail standards officials, however, because of the housing of murder suspects Julio Juarez Ramos and Isidro Juarez Ramos in Custer County, Stanley said.

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