INDIO, Calif. - A new county jail in Indio will give Riverside County an additional 1,200 beds to keep inmates behind bars.
The question is, when will it be ready?
The John J. Benoit Detention Center is nearly 500 days behind schedule.
Robert Field, Assitant County Executive Officer, told us last summer it would be done in late October or November.
Fast forward 8 months and it's still not finished and the county and the contractor, Clark Construction Group, are at odds.
"There's an on-going mediation process where we meet periodically to work out our differences," Field says.
The records show the projected completion date for the jail was originally December 21, 2017.
That date has been moved to August 7, 2019, a delay of 594 days.
Field is being careful about revealing too much about the dispute.
"It's a mediation process, it's confidential, so i can't give you details," he says.
Field does say that Clark has had difficulty with labor because of the busy construction economy right now in Southern California.
Clark issued this statement to KESQ:
Since 2015, Clark Construction Group – California, LP has been working collaboratively with the County of Riverside and its project partners to deliver the East County Detention Center (ECDC) in Indio.
As a result of unforeseen design issues and requests for modifications to the project’s fire and life-safety systems, Phase 1 of the project has experienced delays. Throughout the life of this project, Clark has worked to maintain transparency and an open dialogue with County leadership regarding schedule issues and any associated cost impacts. These discussions are still ongoing.
While Southern California’s active construction market has resulted in a skilled labor shortage, Clark has successfully addressed project labor needs in all areas of the job where design work was complete, and, when needed, has brought in new or additional resources to support construction activities and drive the project forward.
Clark is committed to working diligently with our client, and trade and project partners, to identify opportunities to regain time in the schedule without compromising the quality, safety or integrity of the project. We remain focused on delivering a facility that is compliant with stakeholder requirements and meets the County's long-term needs.
We look forward to turning over Phase 1 of the East County Detention Center this summer.
The County's last monthly report shows over $36 million in dispute on what was projected to be a $270 million contract.
New photos release by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department show that many areas of the jail appear to be close to completion.
But, months still remain until the jail will be done.
Then, staffing will be the big issue.
Lt. Chris Durham says there will be a 90-day commissioning phase, to move the current Indio jail inmates and staff into the new facility to make sure the building is functioning properly.
The Sheriff's Department will then begin adding staffing and inmates over time until the jail is at capacity.
New Sheriff Chad Bianco had promised a faster roll-out during last year's campaign.
Lt. Durham says no firm dates have been set for having the jail operating at capacity.
Once phase one is complete and the jail is commissioned, phase two will begin which will include parking and the demolition of the old jail.
That's projected for completion in May of next year.
If everything goes as planned, the jail will be finished just shy of five years after construction began.
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