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A groundbreaking day for new Ogle County jail

April 11, 2019 GMT

OREGON – Some people want to dig their way out of jail. Others would rather dig their way in, like the crowd that gathered in Oregon on Wednesday to break ground on the new Ogle County jail.

City and county leaders, law enforcement officials, and others donned their hard hats and took golden shovels in hand to line up for the ceremonial scoops and photo ops at the site of the new jail in the 100 block of South Sixth Street, just a shovel’s throw away from the current jail.  

The 41,700 square foot facility – its official name is the Ogle County Judicial Center Annex – will be able to house 152 inmates and its brick exterior will mimic the current judicial center, which was built in 2005.

The new jail “will provide a better workplace, better environment for inmates, and provide more educational opportunities,” Sheriff Brian VanVickle said.

The new jail will face Washington Street, and that block of South Sixth Street will be closed to allow for a large sally port and enclosed passageway to connect the jail and the judicial center for the secure transfer of inmates into the jail, as well as from the jail to courtrooms.

“Right now, if a vehicle is already in the sally port at the judicial center, the Illinois Department of Corrections has to park their vehicle in the street and walk prisoners in [for court appearances],” board chairman Kim Gouker said. “This will allow for better efficiency and handling of inmates for public safety.”

The current jail, built in 1969, is no longer adequate to meet state regulations. It is slated for demolition once the new facility is completed.

Construction on the $24 million jail is estimated to take 20 months.