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SIOUX CITY -- A group of unionized Woodbury County Sheriff's Office deputies has given $40,000 to help create a new training center on the Prairie Hills grounds east of Sioux City, which is moving very close to completion.

The Woodbury County Board of Supervisors in July authorized a plan for a Sheriff's Office training center, as a structure to replace the aging Prairie Hills jail annex.

The 60-by-120-foot building will be erected across the road south of Prairie Hills, located at 1600 County Home Road. The facility will house K-9 training, staff training, classrooms, locker rooms and a weight room.

L & L Home Builders, of Marcus, Iowa, since late 2017 has been constructing the building, which should be completed by April at the latest, county Building Services Director Kenny Schmitz said.

"It should be really nice. We're really looking forward to a new training center," Sheriff Dave Drew said in a statement.

The project is estimated to cost roughly $524,000, and will be paid over five years. The county is providing money, although the Communications Workers of America Local 7177, which represents more than 30 Sheriff's Office employees, for a year has pledged to contribute $40,000 to the project.

That contribution was officially received in the Tuesday county board meeting, in a discussion led by Finance Director Dennis Butler. County officials again praised the cooperation to bring the new center piece to fruition.

Since 2015, county officials have signaled plans to shutter Prairie Hills due to numerous flaws associated with upkeep.

The main Prairie Hills building is 100 years old. It was initially a so-called County Home, an institutional place for paupers and others. A wing was added in 1975, with two large classrooms, a full-size gymnasium, and a large weight room and workout area for employee training.

The county converted Prairie Hills to a jail annex in 2000. A program hailed as a way to help inmates with alcohol problems and reduce jail numbers was ended at Prairie Hills in 2015, so usage of the site has continued to evolve.

New bridge

In other business, the county supervisors approved a bid to build a new bridge southwest of Oto. The bid of $175,677 was approved by Dixon Construction, of Correctionville, which builds many bridges in the county.

Dixon was the lowest of four bidders.

The prior bridge on Lee Avenue was closed after being ruled structurally deficient.


County and education reporter

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