SPARTA, Wis. - It's been in the works for years but plans to build a new justice center in Monroe County are finally taking shape.
On Wednesday night the County Board approved the first phase of drawings for the new justice center, 20-3.
It will give many departments a new home, including the jail, which will more than double in its capacity.
Just a quick tour of the Monroe County Jail is all you need to see it's getting a little cramped.20579398
"This is our booking area, so an officer will bring an inmate into this area if they're a little unruly or if there's more than one, we'll put one or two in the holding cell. As you can see, it's quite small, we can only fit two or three in there right now,"said Lisa Josvai, Chief Deputy of the Monroe County Sheriff's Department.
Josvai said it's exciting to feel like the project is becoming a reality.
"It looks like it's finally going to come to fruition, so it's very exciting," said Josvai.
The new jail will more than double the 69 beds it currently has to 180.
"We have to house an excess of 70 inmates in other counties. We'll be able to house all the Monroe County Jail inmates in one jail," said Josvai.
But it's not just the jail that will benefit from the new center -- the courtrooms will also be completely redone.
"Right now we have to escort the inmates through the public hallways and up the public elevators into the courtrooms and that will no longer be the case. In the new jail, we'll have a secure hallway that's only used for jail officers, bailiffs and inmates," said Josvai.
And after years of trying, those long-awaited changes are finally starting to take shape.
"Off the cuff, I'd say at least five times over the past 15 to 20 years," said Josvai.
The architects will now begin hashing out the details of the new building.
They hope to have the plans ready to go to bid by January of 2014 and break ground as soon as it thaws out.
The County Board approved $25 million for the project.
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