Phase 1 of new Monroe County Justice Center is 90 percent complete

The new jail and administrative center is expected to be done by Feb. 2016

The new $34 million Monroe County Justice Center is another step closer to being finished.    

Phase one of the two-phase project is about 90 percent done.

The first phase, which is primarily the new jail and administrative center, broke ground in June of 2014. The timeline got pushed back a little bit, but now with just the finishing touches, officials expect to start using the new jail next February.

One deputy said he can’t wait to get into the new facility.

Jail Deputy Jeremy Likely has worked at the Monroe County Jail for three years and he said it’s pretty outdated.

“Efficiency has been out the door for some time,” said Likely.

But Likely hopes efficiency comes back once he steps foot in the new Monroe County Justice Center.

“The final step would be to install the security systems, the camera and video systems so they can be a fully functional jail,” said Kurt Marshaus, project representative for Monroe County Justice Center.

In just a few short months, the new multimillion-dollar facility will be Likely’s new office.

With a total of 180 beds in the new jail, Likely will no longer have to spend as much time transporting inmates to other counties.

“We have them housed in Vernon County, Juneau County, a handful in Sauk County, Chippewa County and we are going start shipping to Clark County here soon because we are so overcrowded,” said Likely.

And with new state-of-the-art security, Likely will no longer have to carry a huge set of keys.

“It’s an electronic lock that is controlled by housing control and master control,” said Marshaus.

“Everything is going to be controlled by one person, so we will use radio communication to let them know we are going into a section,” said Likely.

Plus, Marshaus said the setup of the facility will make it safer for employees and inmates.

“They will be able to look into each pod with total view,” said Marshaus.

Because of where master control is set up in the old jail, deputies aren’t able to see the inmates.

“There are a lot of safety concerns,” said Likely.

But with housing control right in the middle of the inmate pods at the new jail, deputies will have a 360-degree clear view of them all.

“Here they will be fully visible,” said Marshaus.

It’s been about 20 years in the making, but with the new upgrades and more space, Likely said it’s worth the wait.

“The jail staff is pretty excited to get moved in over there. It’s been long overdue,” said Likely.

Phase two of the Monroe County Justice Center will begin in the spring of 2016. The old jail will be torn down and replaced by a new sheriff’s department and courthouse. That is expected to be complete by spring of 2017.