County breaks ground on new jail


OREGON – On a cold and wet after noon last week, Ogle County officials finally broke ground on the new jail that will be built behind the Judicial Center on Sixth Street.

“Well, welcome to our mud breaking,” joked County Board Chairman Kim Gouker to open his remarks to community members and elected officials in attendance at the event on April 10.

Gouker pointed out that this process started with the county’s long-range plan in 1998. That plan included the building of the Judicial Center.

“This project here is the capstone of it,” he said. “This is the one that will put it all together.”

The new jail, or Judicial Center Annex, will be a 42,000-square foot, 154-bed adult jail. It will house both males and females.

The project will also include the construction of a Sally port that will connect the new jail with the Judicial Center, allowing for the safe transportation of inmates. That is why the city of Oregon had to agree to close a portion of Sixth Street for the project.

Sheriff Brian VanVickle said a lot of planning has gone into the new jail. He said it will provide a cleaner, safer and overall better working environment for county employees.

“For quite some time there have been issues with the former jail – soon to be former jail,” he said. “That will be a nice thing to be able to say.”

He also said the new facility will allow the county to provide more services for those who will be incarcerated as well.

“We’re going to be able to provide better services to them so that hopefully they are not repeat customers,” VanVickle said.

County Board member Don Griffin said that it has taken a team of people to get to this point, and that the end product will be one that will serve the county well.

“It’s going to be efficient, it’s going to be a building that looks nice and meets the needs into the future of Ogle County for quite some time,” he said.