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Laura Seitz, Deseret Morning News
Project manager Rick Henrie, second from left, gives county officials a tour of the jail expansion.

PROVO — An expansion at the Utah County Jail remains incomplete after more than a year of work on the project.

Construction began on the expansion in November 2006, and some county officials expected it to be completed a year later.

Complications at the beginning of the project put it back several months, however.

"The first year they started construction, (there was) a hard freeze early and they couldn't pour concrete," said Utah County Commissioner Steve White.

White also said the project was set back a bit when crews had to find a way to correct construction on a wall that wasn't built at the right height.

Both bumps set the project back about four months.

Utah County Commissioner Larry Ellertson said the county budgeted $20 million for the project. A $2 million contingency fund also was set up in case the cost increased.

Officials say the $20 million — and most of the contingency fund — has been spent. "(We're) over the initial amount, but there's a plan in place and (we're) getting to completion within the amount" of a contingency fund, he said.

The county intended to finish the new section and go back and remodel the old.

"What we were trying to do was to get the new segment done, move personnel to new offices, and then go back and retrofit the old stuff," White said.

So far, the incomplete new section hasn't posed any problems for the Utah County Sheriff's Office, said Sheriff Jim Tracy.

"Luckily, our (inmate) numbers are down," Tracy said. "We were earlier under pressure because of the numbers. We were releasing people early, especially the female population. We're within our cap; if they (numbers) don't go up again, then it won't pose any problems."

The jail expansion, which would double the capacity of the jail, should be done about April, after which the old jail will be remodeled and the old and new sections of the jail should be ready by June, said Ellertson.

The county jail can take about 500 inmates.

The contract with Comtrol didn't specify a date when the project needed to be finished, but Ellertson said the contractor is expected to be done by April.

"We are hopeful, and we believe that he is working toward that time frame as well," Ellertson said.

Attempts to contact Comtrol for comment were unsuccessful.

The new jail will be run the same way as the old section with direct supervision, deputies in a housing pod with the inmates, rather than on a linear system where one deputy sits in a control room with cameras and watches the inmates.

E-mail: csmith@desnews.com