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Franklin Co. Commissioners Approve Purchase of New Jail Site

COLUMBUS (Ken Hines/Brooks Jarosz) -- Franklin County Commissioners have unanimously approved the purchase of 23 acres of farm land that will eventually serve as the site of a new jail and morgue.

Tuesday, the board of commissioners approved the purchase of the land at 2551 Fisher Road in West Columbus at a cost of $1,336,255.54. The total cost of the new facility could reach $200 million, and is expected to be funded with a half-cent sales tax that went into effect on New Year's Day.

The new complex will include a jail and morgue. It will be located in an industrial area far from residential neighborhoods.

Commissioners announced their intention to replace the current county jail located on High Street in Downtown Columbus last year. They soon decided the morgue should also be moved from its current location on King Avenue to clear space for an expansion of The Ohio State University's medical campus.

Commissioners say approval of the purchase is the first step toward building a "public safety campus" to accompany the S.W.A.T. and K-9 facilities. The complex will also include forensic labs and coroner's offices.

The board will now move to the design phase of the project, which is expected to be a lengthy process. No estimated time has been given for groundbreaking on the complex.

After construction is completed, the downtown jail will be demolished, and inmates will be moved to the new complex, along with prisoners currently housed at the Jackson-Pike Jail, according to the commissioners' plans.

County officials plan to complete major updates to Fisher Road to accompany the new facility, including wider streets and sidewalks, as well as improved lighting.

The new complex is expected to be completed in 2018.
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