New boarders are munching their meals, breathing in fresh air while strolling around outside, and snoozing away part of their time at 765 S. Highway 89 in Fillmore.

But they have no choice as to what they eat, their strolls take place in a high-wire enclosure, and their dreams are not about their modern mansion. The boarders are the inmates at the Millard County Jail in Fillmore, where the population has increased since the recent completion of a new $3.7 million expansion. About 60 state inmates have arrived from prisons and court sentencings, and Sheriff Ed Phillips said the facility is "as full as we want it to be."The expansion increased inmate beds to 101 from the previous 64 and includes four new housing units in cell blocks, each housing 16 inmates. There are exercise areas for both men and women, an isolation unit and dormitory housing for minimum security inmates.

"We have about 90 inmates and we need about an eight or 10-bed buffer," Phillips said.

All is not lost for inmates when they arrive at the Millard County Jail, though. They can better themselves through education and still link up with the outside world. Inmates can benefit through general education and college courses and there is the availability of supervised computer training and use. They can also attend church services.

Security is at the forefront in the new jail, however, where cell blocks are monitored from a central control room.

Millard County officials called for bids for a construction manager/general contractor in March 1997, responsible for constructing 13,000 square feet of new building and remodeling 6,000 square feet of existing jail. The bid went to Sahara Construction Co. of Bountiful.

"We have been extremely pleased from both a cost management standpoint and the schedule," the sheriff said. "The construction began two months late but was on schedule within four or five months and completed well ahead of time. Subcontractors were used for the construction and Sahara required strict performance. Furthermore, the anticipated cost was about $3.7 million but we have spent somewhere around $3.25 million," Phillips said. Sahara has been involved in building new jails in Washington, Beaver and Duchesne counties, and its largest challenge was the construction of the Delta Center in Salt Lake City.

The jail's expansion project started in early summer of 1996 and was completed ahead of the July 3l specified schedule date. The design was contracted with Gillies, Stransky, Brems and Smith Architects of Salt Lake City.

Officials felt the need for the expansion because of overcrowding but wanted to build a facility that would fill the county's needs for 20 years in the future as well as house some state inmates, Phillips said. It was noted that the present jail, part of the county's public safety building, was built in 1983, planned to handle the needs for 20 years, but fell short of that goal by about four years.

"Barring a flurry of growth activity in population and crime, we feel solid for the next 20 years this time," the sheriff said. "We plan to house about 60 state inmates until we need more space."

Millard County get funding from the state for inmates who are serving state prison sentences. Phillips said the state reimburses counties at the rate of $38 per day to house the prisoners and, while the profit is not great, it helps pay expenses. The county probably benefits by $3 to $5 per day for each inmate, he said.