Pennington County to revamp jail facilities

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Things are mighty cramped in the laundry and kitchen at the Pennington County Jail but change could be coming. A major renovation and expansion of those core jail services is on tap and the project took a step forward Tuesday.

The cramped tight space, housing driers that date back to 1990, was designed to handle the dirty clothes for an inmate population about a third the size it is today. The same holds true for a kitchen that is straining to produce the required meals.

But a big change is in the works. The Pennington County Commission gave the OK to county staff to move forward with applications to rezone the blocks around the jail to pave the way for a $6 million laundry and kitchen renovation that will not only provide more space but also modernize the layout.

"To increase the capacity in those areas will help us be able to operate more efficiently and more effectively and reduce costs overall for Pennington County," said Pennington County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Brian Mueller. "So we're really excited to get this project moving forward."

The expansion is still in the planning stages but project managers are eyeing the end of next year as a possible completion date.