Mower Co.’s jail, courtrooms finished

Published 9:49 am Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mower County coordinator Craig Oscarson talks about the nearly finished courtrooms at the Jail and Justice Center Thursday. -- Eric Johnson/Albert Lea Tribune

By Jason Schoonover, staff writer

AUSTIN — After more than 16 months of construction and about a decade of discussion, all major work on the Mower County Jail and Justice Center is finished.

“We’re basically done, just a couple minor things here and there,” said County Coordinator Craig Oscarson.

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Aside from a few inspections and cleanup, the building is ready for a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The building will then be open for self-guided tours from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The building will again be open for tours on Monday from 5 to 8 p.m.

Jailers were in the building last week for training after the county received a temporary certificate of occupancy from the city of Austin. Oscarson said the final certificate of occupancy from the city is expected next week.

One of three new courtrooms at the Jail and Justice Center in Austin. -- Eric Johnson/Albert Lea Tribune

KKE Architects has issued a certificate of occupancy substantial completion for Oscarson to sign.

A cleaning firm is expected to start cleaning the building this weekend. Once the tours end Monday night, work will shift to moving over the court administration, county attorney and corrections offices and the courts to the new building.

Employees are expected to start work in the building the week of Sept. 20.

While the jailers are currently training in the new facility, the jail is not slated to open until next month.

According to Oscarson, the project is expected to be completed at a final cost of about $28 million, which is lower than the $35.4 million budgeted before the project was bid out.

Oscarson said the county benefited during bids because the weak economy drove construction costs down, and local contractors were able to get a lot of work on the project.

Jail and Justice Center Tours:

  • What: A ribbon cutting and self-guided tours of the new jail.
  • Where: The new Mower County Jail and Justice Center, 201 Second Ave. NE
  • When:
  • Sept. 11: ribbon cutting at 10 a.m., self-guided tours from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sept 13: self-guided tours from 5 to 8 p.m.