The Alachua County Jail held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of an equipment replacement and energy conservation project.
Over the course of 10 years, the jail, located at 3333 NE 39th Ave., completed 45 renovations and finally revealed the final project on Monday.
The project included:
- The installation of 92 solar panels to reduce the cost of heating water
- An ICON water conservation project, which could save millions of gallons of water annually
- The renovation of the kitchen and the addition of energy star appliances
- The replacement of washers and dryers with energy-efficient appliances
- The installment of a premium water cooled heating and a cooling plant
- The installation of a foam roof to reduce heat load
Charlie Jackson, facilities manager, said the project cost around 12.7 million dollars and came from the county general funds.
“I think that this no doubt will be the state-of-art workmanship for jails across the country,” Jackson said.
The renovations were necessary when systems stopped working and became costly. One in particular was the air conditioning.
“These projects will reduce maintenance costs, electrical costs, gas costs, and water waste consumption,” Jackson said.
Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell said the project for replacing the air conditioning system in the jail was imperative because it was failing. In fact, she said all 76 individual air conditioning units on top of the jail were faulty.
“At the jail, we are different than a homeowner,” she said. “We are not able to order up the doors and windows in order to get cooling, so it’s key to have proper air control and conditioning, especially during the July and August months.”