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Genesee County Jail

January 12, 2023 - 8:35am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Genesee County Jail, batavia.

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The first of about 100 oversized construction material loads slowly made its way down Main Street Wednesday en route to the new Genesee County jail being built at 3839 West Main Street Road, and city motorists are asked to take note and give future loads a wide berth.

The special delivery package was a concrete cell that traveled down Route 63 to Route 5, and is to be followed by about 99 more in a series of staggered deliveries during the next two months, county officials say. Motorists are asked to “keep an eye out” for escort vehicles since the deliveries are oversized loads requiring adequate space for travel and turns to reach their destination.

“They should not be crowded for the safety of all travelers,” Public Communications Specialist Steven Falitico said Wednesday.

The new jail — a 184-bed, $70 million facility — has been in progress since the groundbreaking in May of last year on property adjacent to County Building #2 and Genesee County Animal Shelter. Deliveries of pre-fabricated jail cells are “one big step in the construction process,” County Manager Matt Landers said.

“There is still a long way to go, but overall, I am happy that the construction is progressing on schedule and coming in under budget,” he said.

The first major change order — an expense not to exceed $80,000 for stainless steel flashing glued around the perimeter of precast pods as extra insulation — also came up for a vote of approval Wednesday by the county Legislature. The Ways and Means Committee had previously reviewed the request and passed it on to the whole Legislature for final vote.

The project has been on track for a March 2024 completion, led by The Pike Company’s project management.

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Top Photo: A jail cell on a flatbed truck slowly travels along Route 5 on its way to the new county jail being built on West Main Street Road in the Town of Batavia; photos of construction progress of the jail on property next to County Building #2 and the animal shelter. Photos by Howard Owens.

January 5, 2023 - 7:30am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Genesee County Jail, batavia.

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As it can go with large construction projects, the new county jail’s price tag is to ring in the new year with ka-ching and an estimated $80,000 of additional work needed for exterior insulation.

Genesee County Highway Superintendent and senior Engineer Tim Hens outlined the problem during Wednesday’s Ways and Means meeting. A six-inch gap at the top of a foundational area was discovered by architects and engineers that, as it stands, would not meet code, he said.

“It’s a very difficult construction detail,” he said. “Cold air would not be coming in, but the concrete would conduct the cold. Two to three feet of that floor would feel really frozen.”

The suggested remedy is to glue stainless steel flashing all the way around four precast pods.

“That does solve the problem. If they can do it before the precast units are installed, it’s easier,” Hens said. “The quicker we can get the go-ahead, the cheaper it will be for us.”

Assistant Engineer Laura Wadhams added that there will be people “out in the field” to ensure that the work is done in as timely and financially efficient way possible and that it may be less than the $80,000 capped estimate.

With the backing of her committee, Genesee County Legislature Chairwoman Rochelle Stein authorized a time and material change order with a cost not to exceed $80,000.00 for LeChase Construction, for costs related to additional insulation installation and protective flashing around the base of all pod areas for the new Genesee County Jail.

The total amount of the final change order will be determined in the field, with documented time and receipts for materials. The cost of the change order is not to exceed $80,000, per the resolution.

To follow progress on the jail project, go to the county's Jail Updates page. 

2022 File Photo of the early stages of the $70 million Genesee County Jail project on Route 5 in the Town of Batavia, by Howard Owens.

September 7, 2022 - 11:27pm

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Corrections officers are badly needed for Genesee County Jail, and it’s time to expand the search, Sheriff William Sheron says.

Now that a new jail is under construction, there are to be male and female inmates, which creates a need for more, and more diverse, officers, Sheron said during Wednesday’s Ways & Means meeting.

“We’re looking for candidates for corrections officers, especially females,” he said.

He asked legislators for approval of an amendment to allow officers to be from contiguous counties as well as from the desired first choice of Genesee. Less than 40 people took the last Civil Service test, compared to 80 previously. The pool of candidates is growing "leaner and leaner," he said.

Sheron hopes that by enlarging the pool to include other counties, there will be more candidates to choose from.

Several years after initial planning, saving and getting documentation in place for a new Genesee County Jail, the first shovels struck the ground in May for the $70 million, 184-bed facility on West Main Street Road, adjacent to County Building #2. It’s on track for a March 2024 completion.

Once the jail is completed, there are to be male and female inmates, and therefore female officers would be required for the facility. Legislative Chairwoman Shelley Stein remarked that it’s “going to be a beautiful facility” to work in, to which Sheron replied “night and day.”

A public hearing must take place before the proposed amendment — to expand the residency territorial area to employ corrections officers — is officially adopted. The committee agreed to set that for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Genesee County Old Courthouse, 7 Main St., Batavia.

The resolution states that “The County of Genesee Legislature hereby finds that in order to ensure an adequate pool of qualified applicants as Correction Officer, it is necessary and advisable that such Correction Officer may be permitted to reside within the County of Genesee or any county contiguous to the County of Genesee: namely, Erie, Niagara, Orleans, Monroe, Livingston, or Wyoming Counties.”

As it stands now, state public officers law requires a person to be a resident of the political subdivision or municipal corporation of the state for which such person is chosen or within such person’s official functions. That law can only be revised by an act of the Legislature.

For anyone interested in taking the related test, the next one is on Dec. 10.

For more information, go to Genesee County

File Photo of Sheriff William Sheron being sworn in as first new sheriff in nearly 30 years. Photo by Howard Owens.

August 9, 2022 - 12:52pm

A worker injured at the construction site of the new Genesee County Jail is back on the job, the senior project manager for the facility management firm said on Monday.

Carl York of The Pike Company of Rochester updated the Genesee County Legislature’s Public Service Committee on the progress of the $70 million, 184-bed jail that's going up next to County Building 2 on West Main Street Road.

He said the worker was stationed inside the excavating shield, directing a co-worker on top who was operating the heavy equipment.

“He was directing the bucket back toward himself and he ran out of room and got caught between,” York said. “The worker was transported to the hospital and today he returned back to work. So, he was out for about a week and a half. But he is back to work.”

That’s good news for the employee, but not so fortunate for the site contractor, Bayside Paving Contractors, Inc. of Shortsville, York added.

“OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) did come out to investigate and they found nothing wrong with the safety or the way they were working,” York said. “They have not finalized their findings yet. But more than likely the contractor will probably get fined because they did not report the accident to OSHA within 24 hours which is required of a hospitalization.

“But that was really the only issue they had with over what happened. They said it was just a flat-out accident.”

Construction is ahead of schedule by about six weeks on the foundation work, York reported, adding that there have been no issues with stormwater pollution and no changes to the total project cost.

York said workers have met one of the first (and many) milestones by completing the building pad prep work three days ahead of the July 26 target date.

“Underground utilities -- our sanitary is about 90 percent complete, stormwater is about 40 percent complete and the water and fire service is about 70 percent complete,” he said.

He said media coverage over the fact that Pike was waiting for National Grid to supply permanent power to the site was a “real good boost … as we did get some good updates from National Grid.”

Foundational work on the administration building and the cell pods is moving along, he added, with expectations that all of that work will be complete by the first week of September.

“Right now, we're waiting for the mechanical – the plumbing and electrical contractors to start on August 15. It was just they couldn't get their deliveries moved up as fast as (general contractor) LeChase (Construction Services of Rochester) was moving along with foundations.”

York said his firm is exploring the addition of a booster pump for future growth, mentioning that a decision will be made on that after speaking with County Manager Matt Landers and his team this week.

Representatives of the state Commission of Correction visited the site last week and “were very pleased” with the progress, he said. Crews are in the third month of a 20-month construction schedule.

Previously: Safety, communication and a little rain for new Genesee County Jail project

July 20, 2022 - 8:05am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Genesee County Jail, batavia, notify.

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Sometimes no action can be a good thing, especially when it comes to construction sites.

Project Executive Mark Bollin, of The Pike Company, shared that during his Genesee County Jail progress report to the county’s Public Service Committee this week.

“As it relates to safety, there have been no lost-time accidents at all. And all the contractors continue to abide by the OSHA requirements and their own safety plans, contracts, bonds and insurances,” he said. “All prime contracts have been fully executed, the contract for the special inspections and testing has been finalized and executed. With the stormwater prevention plan, there's been no issues.”

Those housekeeping details have helped to ensure a good flow of communication, he said.

“Communication is going really well, with the county, engineers and contractors.”

Foundation work has included stockpiling and stabilizing topsoil, creating an infiltration test pond, underground utilities and fire and water infrastructure is a little over half complete, at 55 percent, he said.

Senior Project Manager Carl York said that backfills were to begin this week, and all contractors are working on a three-dimensional model of the building to make sure everything fits according to plan.

In addition to the actual physical work, however, there has been that critical element of open communication and cooperation, York said.

“Ever since we started the job, and quite intensely the last month, all the contractors have been working on the final baseline schedule. The general contractor has been meeting with each of the contractors to get their information, and we've had separate meetings where everybody's together and everybody goes through the schedule and agrees on the logic in there. That same schedule has been sent to Pike scheduling department for review and comment and is now finally been finalized,” York said. “This is going extremely well. The meetings are very well attended, it’s very positive. We’re getting a lot done. It’s a very positive process right now.”

Rainy weather — though needed for brown lawns and thirsty crops — caused contractors to lose three and a half days of work. It’s “nothing out of the ordinary,” Bollin said.

Construction trailers are all in place, and remaining contractors are to bring in their trailers over the next couple of months, usually around August, York said. National Grid has yet to provide its design for getting power out to the site, he said.

“It's still in design and up in Albany, so we're still facing that. National Fuel did come out and walk the site. But they have not provided us anything for their design yet for the gas coming over to the proper foundation,” he said.  “All of the contractors and the design team are all working on the 3D model of the building, looking for clash infections and making sure that everything's going to fit. We're about a third of the way through that whole process.”

“If we didn't include that in the original bids, we didn't know what we're going to be encountering. Once we saw what the site was going to be like this was the best thing to do to create a stable work area so that the site's not muddy and progress would not be delayed by rain like this,” he said.

County Legislator Shelley Stein asked him what the greatest challenge has been. With little pause, he said “material availabilities.” Obtaining necessary materials has been difficult, and at times “we can’t even get sample kits,” he said.

“I’m most concerned about the National Grid and getting power to the site. Our switchgear getting here, and then the rooftop, those are our biggest worries. I mean right now that we've got time budgeted in the schedule for this, but if they start slipping, then those are all critical items that will directly impact the schedule.”

The new jail, adjacent to County Building 2 and Genesee County Animal Shelter on Route 5 in Batavia, is still on track for a March 2024 completion, Bollin said.

Photo: Mark Bollin, left, and Carl York discuss the progress of Genesee County Jail during the Public Services meeting this week. Photo by Joanne Beck.

June 14, 2022 - 8:23pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Genesee County Jail, batavia, notify.

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A bit too much water and dirt made for muddy waters at the construction site of the new county jail.

At least temporarily.

In his report to the Public Service Committee Monday, Project Executive Mark Bollin reviewed how weather and ground materials worked their way into construction plans.

“Temporary lay down area has been established. Site earthwork cuts and fills is about 95 percent complete. We've done about two inches of stone right now, because if we don't put the two inches of stone down there right now (there can be drainage issues) when it rains," Bollin said at the Old Courthouse. "The contractor is going to be shut down for a day until it dries up … but thankfully this site dries up pretty quickly."

The weather — a recent good steady rain — shut down work for about a day and a half, he said. Underground utilities will be installed beginning this week, and contractor construction trailers are on site ready for utility hookups, he said.

Under the category of “change management,” he listed five cost items that were discovered during this initial phase, including an existing septic tank and leach field from when Genesee Community College was located there. Another item was the removal and replacement of “unsuitable soils,” he said.

County legislators wanted more details about those unsuitable soils.

“A layer of topsoil was discovered under a layer of the fill. The geotechnical engineer was brought to the site to review the existing site conditions and directed that the topsoil be removed from the field, or for allowance to remove or replace 500 cubic yards of unsuitable soil. This material was included in work package number one,” Bollin said. “The soil is not suitable to build the building; it doesn't have the bearing capacity to support the building.

"So I believe what happened here, at some point, somebody put fill over the top of topsoil and then another layer of topsoil somehow got on top of that. So when the contractor … cut the site down to grade, they dug down about eight inches or so and they found another layer of topsoil. We're calculating that to be about 100 yards of material.”

That scenario was built into one of the estimated scopes of work, he said, which is “the reason why we had that allowance to cover such things.”

The project cost is still currently $57,272,000, he said, however, three revisions to the project have been issued and are out for pricing with the contractors.

More fencing has been put up to redirect traffic and separate the project from the adjacent county’s Animal Shelter and Building 2. As far as safety goes, there have been no lost time accidents to date, he said, and safety plans have been submitted and approved by The Pike Company, except for one.

Despite the glitches with rain and topsoil, foundation work is scheduled to begin the week of June 27, which is two weeks early according to Pike’s Guideline Construction Schedule, Bollin said.

A bulk of the project is on track for a January 2024 completion, with a final completion of the new Genesee County Jail set for March 2024, he said.

2022 File Photo of construction for the new county jail on Route 5, Batavia, next to County Building 2 and Genesee County Animal Shelter. Photo by Howard Owens.

May 17, 2022 - 5:14pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Genesee County Jail, batavia, notify.

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Aside from the brick-and-mortar details of constructing a new, 184-bed Genesee County jail facility, Senior Project Superintendent Randy Babbitt offered a reminder Monday about what’s most important.

“My top priority is safety. Safety, safety, safety is paramount with me. I want everyone returning home the same way they show up every day. And we all have families, kids, grandkids. So that's one of the biggest things I stress to the guys: safety first,” Babbitt said during the first update given to the Public Services Committee. “And then I go into quality and a lot of other things, but my main concern for my walk is to be safe every day. So please be assured that's gonna be on the top.”

Most of the contractors have provided their own site-specific safety plan, reviewed and approved by Pike company's corporate safety director, Bollin said. It's also been reviewed and approved by Senior Project Manager Carl York.

“They did submit one to us, and we kicked it back because they didn't address a few things that we want to address,” Bollin said. “They are complying with their safety plan that they have submitted, and everything is off to a good start.”

York outlined work that has been completed and future ongoing collaboration.

“We're collecting everybody's detailed schedules that will go in … we’re gonna start having our project manager meetings every week, starting next week, and our coordination meetings with the contractors coordinating all of the MEPs for all the buildings are also starting next week. And both of those will go on every week until their coordination tasks are completed,” York said. "Randy's on-site superintendent meetings will probably start in about another two, three weeks or so when there's a few more subs working on site. Everybody's very eager to get as much done before the snow flies. We're all very excited to be here. And I'm very eager. You're going to see it's smooth (moving) forward.”

Work has begun at the site of the new larger jail on West Main Street Road next to County Building 2. Equipment at the site will be a mainstay for several months, with a final completion date to be in March 2024, Bollin said. 

He reviewed what’s already been approved — six prior packages with contractors Bayside Paving for site work, LeChase Construction Services as general contractor, Joseph Flihan Company for food services equipment work, Thurston Dudek for plumbing and fire protection, Bell Mechanical Contractor for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, Kaplan-Schmidt for electrical and security electronics work and a seventh contract with CME Associates, which is to provide special inspections and testing.

Bayside paving began “mobilization” earlier this month, with temporary fencing, soil erosion control, clearing and grubbing construction entrances that were completed on May 13. Stripping topsoil began that same day, Bollin said.

The notice to proceed was issued to all contractors on Monday, he said.

“It was dated today. Based on the timeframe that we gave the contractors to complete the project, a substantive date for substantial completion will be Jan. 14, 2024. The date for final completion is March 15, 2024,” he said.

Given this has been a project in the making for at least five years, it was a drum-roll moment as he announced an official groundbreaking ceremony date has been set. Genesee County officials will celebrate the jail’s formal inception at 10 a.m. on May 26.

All private contracts have been fully executed and both Genesee County and the contractors have signed them, he said. The latest agreement with CME Associates is being drafted, he said. All forms, payment bonds and insurance have been provided by all of the contractors and have been “carefully reviewed by Genesee County’s insurance agent and Pike's risk management department,” he said.

He said the contracts are signed for a total project cost of $57,272,800. 

Top photo: 2022 File photo by Howard Owens

May 11, 2022 - 2:27pm
posted by Joanne Beck in Genesee County Jail, news.

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Several years after initial planning, saving and getting documentation in place for a new Genesee County Jail, the first shovels are in the ground for the $70 million, 184-bed facility on West Main Street Road, adjacent to County Building #2.

Officials have said the project has been said it won't be a financial burden to property owners. The county has been saving money in reserves and holding a greater portion of local sales tax to help cover debt service payments. A four-member corrections officer transition team was put in place to write policies and procedures to cover operations of the new jail that will accommodate expansion needs.

Photo by Howard Owens.

March 30, 2022 - 7:54pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, genesee county, Genesee County Jail.

Genesee County leaders, knowing that they wouldn't be able to avoid building a state-mandated new county jail forever, say the financial plan they have put in place will shield taxpayers form having to bear any of the $70 million cost.

“We’ve been planning for this through our sales tax negotiations that have been going on previously, four or five years ago, with the idea that the growth in sales tax and then sales tax proceeds in general will help fund this operation,” County Manager Matt Landers said following today’s special Committee of the Whole meeting.

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County jail project bids come in under budget; legislators approve all six contractors

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“For us at the county, we're glad to say that we have the resources to not have to have a property tax increase to pay for this jail, because we'll be able to use a good chunk of our reserves that we've set aside along with sales tax proceeds that have come to us. So, we feel confident that no county property tax increase will be needed for this jail.”

The county has set the wheels in motion to bond the expense over 30 years. When asked about the yearly payment, Landers acknowledged that it’s “pretty daunting.”

“Yeah, it's considerable but, again, we've been planning for this for years and making sure that the growth in sales tax -- and we're being smart with how we spend our money -- and basically set aside and earmark in our mind how much we need to grow in sales tax,” he replied. “We feel confident at this point that sales tax proceeds in the near future are going to be enough to cover debt service payments, along with some potential reserves that we set aside in prior years as well.”

County Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein, who called the approval of the bidding and funding resolutions as “a hallmark day for the county,” pointed out that the county’s recent 40-year sales tax agreement with its municipalities set the stage for the jail funding.

“I want to mention the very sometimes unpopular 40-year sales tax agreement and the cap of the $10 million for the villages and towns outside the city. That's what affords this debt service payment on that 30 years schedule,” she said. “And the jail is a county responsibility. It’s one that we can't push off to a different level of government.

“So, taking the steps to assure that this responsibility is well funded and it is carefully planned is part of a lot of the work that Matt's office has done. And the legislators have been very involved in asking the good questions like what was asked here today.”

Stein addressed comments from residents that the county should have built a shared jail with Orleans County to save money.

“We did try to go down that path with our neighboring county. The will was there from the legislators but it wasn’t so much supported through the rest of the rank and file,” she said. “We also would have need 47 different bills (pieces of legislation) at the state level in order to enable it to be a shared facility.”

Landers said there was the issue of the state legislation to allow the county to do a shared jail plus timing entered the equation.

“But the nice that about the jail being built is that it allows for expansion,” he added. “It has been built (designed) with all the right size mechanicals and everything is built so that if Orleans wants to in the future, and the state allows for it, we certainly would be receptive to adding a pod or two and to allow for Orleans County to share this Genesee County Jail.”

Sheriff William Sheron said a facility to replace the county’s original jail, built in 1902, has been a long time coming.

“When I started in 1977, there were plans on the table to build a new jail on land that was purchased (on the site of the former State Police barracks on East Main Street) in recognition that the jail was obsolete,” he said. “For whatever reason, that didn’t come to fruition and in the mid-1980s, we put the addition onto this jail (in the city).”

Sheron said the county has put together “a great team” dedicated to fiscal responsibility.

“We’re not going to build a Taj Mahal; we're going build a facility that's up to standards and … be able to offer more programs for those that are involved, those that are incarcerated, and hopefully make some improvements in their lives and better working conditions for officers.”

Stein thanked key players on the team, specifically Assistant Engineer Laura Wadams, Deputy Highway Superintendent Paul Osborn and Purchasing Director Chet Kaleta, and her colleagues on the legislature.

“Genesee County is not waiting for things to happen. The legislature that is serving this county is getting the job done,” she said. “Thank each and every one of you for your hard work that brought us to this day -- your commitment, your creativity, your patience, and most of all your courage during this time in our society where everything is in flux and changing. All stood fast, tall and committed to this project for this county.”

March 30, 2022 - 6:21pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in Genesee County Jail, genesee county, The Pike Company, SMRT.

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The project executive for the construction management firm working with Genesee County on its new county jail project this afternoon said everyone should be “very happy” with the bids that were submitted for the six work areas that have been identified.

“Considering the economy and what's happening around the world -- the amount of work that's out there right now -- I think we should all be very happy that we have these results. They are very, very good results to be honest with you,” said Mark Bollin of The Pike Company of Rochester during a Genesee County Legislature Committee of the Whole meeting.

The special session was scheduled specifically for the awarding of construction bids for the $70 million, 184-bed jail initiative.

Bollin (photo above) went into detail about the companies that submitted low bids and answered questions from legislators about the project, that is scheduled to break ground on May 9 on land next to County Building 2 on West Main Street Road. He said work will take place over 20 months, with a projected completion date of January 2024 (plus another two months for close-out and punch list items).

As reported earlier today on The Batavian, the six low bidders are as follows:

General Contractor - LeChase Construction Services, LLC, of Rochester, $34,980,000;

Site Work - Bayside Paving Contractors Inc., Shortsville, at a stipulated sum of $3,792,000;

Food Services Equipment Work - Joseph Flihan Company, Utica, at a stipulated sum of $826,800;

Plumbing and Fire Protection Work - Thurston Dudeck LLC, Ontario, at a stipulated sum of $4,362,000;

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Work - Bell Mechanical Contractor, Inc., East Rochester, at a stipulated sum of $5,112,000;

Electrical and Security Electronics Work - Kaplan-Schmidt, Inc., Rochester, at a stipulated sum of $8,200,000.

The total of the six bids -- $57,272,800 -- is $2.7 million less than what The Pike Company budgeted for the work listed above, Bollin said.

Legislators unanimously voted in favor of accepting the bids, and also voted on amending the project reserve fund to increase the amount to be bonded over a 40-year period to the $70 million figure.

Bollin said his company solicited for bids throughout New York, advertising in different places, including the Builders Exchange to Rochester and Buffalo.

“The Pike Company also has a system where we sent out the advertisement to bid to upwards of 5,000 individuals throughout the state,” he said. “So, we actually had very good participation. There was a number of projects that were out to bid at the time. Contractors are busy right now. But we actually did have very good versus participation.”

He advised that each of the six contractors have a “definitive scope of work” and each are aware of their exact responsibilities.

“There was a schedule included in the bidding documents, along with intermediate milestone dates that each contractor was responsible to meet -- both material deliveries, labor, etc. So, every contractor knew exactly what they were supposed to do,” he added.

Response to the bidding documents sent to prospective companies indicated that “they were probably some of the best construction documents … that they’ve ever seen,” Bollin said. “And that was reinforced by our estimating people who also said that those were a very good set of documents.”

A breakdown of the bids showed that three came in on the site work package, five for the general contractor, one for the food service (which came in higher than anticipated due to the cost of stainless steel and kitchen equipment, Bollin said), five for the plumbing work, six for heating and ventilation and five for electrical.

Bollin said all the contracts are ready to go out, along with notice of award letters that he will hand deliver tomorrow. The selected contractors are required to return the signed contracts along with insurance documents within seven calendar days, “at which time, the county can then sign the documents.”

Bollin said he is confident in the stability and expertise of the companies, noting that he has done work with all of them.

When asked about cost overruns, he said a “field order allowance” of $90,000 is built into each contract, but any charges over the bid amount must be approved by the legislature. He also said that The Pike Company will have personnel on site during construction as a quality control measure.

He said he has received assurances from the low bidders that long-lead materials, such as PVC conduit, electrical gear and air handling units, are being ordered now in an attempt to avoid delays.

“One of the reasons why we don't want to issue the notice proceed until May 9 is to give all the contractors a five week period of time …until we actually start construction to start securing steel and precast concrete,” he said. “I know for a fact that the general contractor is already committed to a steel contractor and he's already starting getting things ready. The precast contractor, I personally talked to him after the bid and he said he's already getting things ready to go.”

March 24, 2022 - 12:33pm

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Calling the move from the current Genesee County Jail to the one that will be built on West Main Street Road over the next couple years “an enormous task,” Sheriff William Sheron today said he has complete confidence in the “transition team” he has assembled to lead the way.

Sheron emerged from a three-day training of the five correction officers at the Sheriff’s Office on Park Road by stating that it no longer will be business as usual when the new 184-bed, $70 million jail opens about 22 months after groundbreaking this spring.

“The team has an enormous task of transitioning, obviously, from the old jail to the new jail, which will be a revision of all our general orders, a revision of all of our policies and procedures and how everything is done,” Sheron told The Batavian.

“It's not as simple as just going from the old facility and taking the inmates and putting them into the new jail and operating like we used to at the old jail. There will be more programs and many different things to consider, such as meal distribution, inmate movement, medical, inmate and outside visitation, disciplinary, parking and special housing.”

The sheriff has appointed Corey Cieszki, Danni Stone, Austin Davis, Jenna Barber and Dennis Bartholomew (in photo at top from left to right with Sheriff Sheron) as members of the team.

“There was a solicitation to our staff because we wanted people that were interested in doing it – people that have the dedication and desire, I guess, to take on this responsibility,” Sheron said. “And we wanted people that have longevity left with them because when the facility opens up, these are going to be the go-to people for a while. They will know the mechanics of that building inside and out.”

Since Tuesday, the team has been studying under the guidance of Terry Moran, director of operations for the New York State Commission on Correction. Sheron said the training was an eye-opener for him.

“My eyes were completely opened here,” he said. “I had questions before from people saying, ‘Well, what’s this this transition team going to do?’ And I just had a brief overview from the Commission. They said they would come down and explain everything. Now that they’ve explained it, I see that these people (the team) are going to be busy.”

Sheron said he “can’t stress the importance of this team enough to make sure that this project is completed in a timely manner and in an operational manner so that when we open, everybody is fully trained and all procedures are set in place.”

County Manager Matt Landers echoed Sheron’s feelings, also stating that the first day of the training – which included county employees from various departments – brought numerous details to light.

“I think the average lay person would ask how could we have four individuals (the fifth will be an alternate) for the next two years, and they're in a room and all they're doing is policies and procedures,” he said. “If you went through the four-hour training we went through (on Tuesday) you can see the task ahead of them.”

Landers said the knowledge gained by the team members will make them “experts on this jail” and could result in career advancement to administration for one or more of these individuals.

“So, we're making investment in these individuals. And I think it'll pay off and they will be our future leaders in our correction side for years to come,” he said.

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Top photo: The transition team goes over design drawings with Terry Moran, director of operations for the NYS Commission on Correction. Bottom photo: Moran addresses selected Genesee County employees during first day of a three-day training this week. Photos by Mike Pettinella. Bottom photo submitted.

March 9, 2022 - 7:07pm

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When you’re mandated by New York State to build a new county jail – one with a projected price tag of $70 million, any cost-saving measures are deeply valued.

That has been Genesee County Manager Matt Landers’ message all along, and he emphasized that point again this afternoon at a meeting of the legislature at the Old County Courthouse.

Landers reported that the state Commission of Correction will permit the county’s jail transition team to be housed in County Building 2 on West Main Street Road while construction of the jail, which will be located just east of that building, is going on.

“We found out (that) to save a little bit of money our transition team for the jail will be allowed to be housed in County Building 2 instead of the county having to secure a construction trailer,” Landers said. “We’re glad that the CDC is fine with that, and the sheriff is supportive of that move. Every buck we can save is good – and that is an efficient place for them to go.”

According to a story on The Batavian last September, the four-member transition team will be comprised of current county corrections’ officers and will be charged with writing policies and procedures for the 184-bed facility.

The team needs to be in place at the time of groundbreaking, which is expected to happen this May, Landers said.

Sheriff William Sheron said he is close to finalizing the appointments, which then will force his office to hire four more corrections’ officers to backfill those positions.

In other developments, Landers advised:

  • That he is preparing his thoughts on how the state should “roll out and spend the broadband money that’s flowing through their books.”

Landers said he has a plan that he feels will work best for Genesee County.

“We’re working with our partners on getting the wording correctly,” he said. “The emphasis on my commentary is going to be making sure that more of that money goes toward the unserved versus the underserved.

“I think that in Genesee County (that’s) the best bang for the buck in reaching that last mile -- members of the community that don’t have any internet access. So, that was the focus of my comments.”

Landers said he has reached out to Town Supervisor Gregory Post for his opinion, noting that town officials are eager to expand broadband in their municipality.

  • That the east entrance to County Building 1 (that houses the clerk’s office and the Department of Motor Vehicles) is open now “so people don’t have to park over by Save-A-Lot and walk all the way around.”

“The sandwich boards are down and Building 1 is back open for business.”

Architect's rendering of the new Genesee County Jail to be built on West Main Street Road. Provided by Genesee County manager's office.

February 16, 2022 - 5:10pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, County Legislature, Genesee County Jail.

The Genesee County Legislature is expected to vote next week on two resolutions proposed by County Manager Matt Landers that would extend contracts with the architectural and construction management companies involved with the new $70 million county jail project.

The legislature’s Ways & Means Committee (today) and Public Service Committee (on Monday) approved extending the construction timeline with The Pike Company of Rochester from 18 to 20 months, based on the current market and supply chain constraints.

Landers said the specific start date hasn’t been set yet, but when it does it will be for 20 months – fitting into the June 1, 2022 through April 30, 2024 time period.

Since time is money, the extension will result in an increase of $121,298, with almost $96,550 of that for Pike to manage the extra two months of the construction time frame, Landers said.

“The remainder is cost escalation for Pike’s rising costs from delaying this project so long,” he added.

The other resolution is for two one-year renewals of the contract with SMRT Architects and Engineers of Latham, stretching out the agreement through February 2024. In this case, there is no additional cost to extend the pact.

The full legislature will convene at 5:30 p.m. next Wednesday.

Landers said that construction bid packages were released on Feb. 8. Bid awards are expected to go out in March with groundbreaking of the 184-bed jail on West Main Street Road scheduled for April.

November 22, 2021 - 10:53pm
posted by Press Release in Genesee County Jail, news.

Press release:

Genesee County Sheriff William A. Sheron, Jr. is reinstating visitation at the Genesee County Jail beginning noon on Tuesday, 11/23/21, for those incarcerated individuals who are NOT in quarantine.

"We appreciate your understanding while this precautionary measure was in place in order to prevent the risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to incarcerated individuals' families and employees."

September 20, 2021 - 4:52pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Genesee County Jail, County Legislature.

Prior to the construction phase, Genesee County will need to have its four-member corrections’ officer transition team in place to write policies and procedures covering the $70 million, 184-bed county jail proposed for West Main Street Road, just east of County Building 2.

County Manager Matt Landers last week updated legislators on the progress of the jail, continuing to express confidence that groundbreaking will take place next spring.

Appointing those to be on the transition team and reviewing and approving engineering specifications are current priorities, he said.

“We’ve always known that there was going to be a jail transition team that would be responsible for writing all of the policies and procedures of the new facility, and the (New York State) COC (Commission of Correction) requires that this team be hired as soon as the first shovel is in the ground,” Landers said.

The plan is to take four current county corrections’ officers and assigning them to the transition team, and then to “backfill” the positions that would be open afterwards.

“And that’s when we would hope to increase our efforts to hire more female COs because we will be housing females in the new facility,” he advised.

Landers said Assistant Engineer Laura Wadham and Deputy Highway Superintendent Paul Osborn are poring over the drawings to make sure “everything from a technical engineering perspective is being considered on the site.”

The county is continuing the State Environmental Quality Review process, working with the SMRT architectural firm of Portland, Me.

“Hopefully we can go out to bid near the end of the year and be in position to award contracts in the spring,” Landers said, adding that the new four-pod jail would include a backup E-911 Center. Currently, that service is located in the Genesee Justice building at 14 West Main St.

The county is planning to take out a 30-year bond to pay for the jail, with annual payments estimated at $3 million to $3.5 million, Landers said.

“Interest rates are historically low right now, which is in our favor,” he said. “Plus, this (financing of the jail) is one of the reasons for the restructuring of the sales tax distribution agreement with the towns and villages so we can utilize more of that revenue to pay off the jail.”

Landers said that portions of the sales tax proceeds and reserves would go to the debt service payment.

“Over the next decade or so, we would use less and less reserves on an annual basis, and more of the sales tax as sales tax revenue grows,” he noted.

In another development, Landers today said the Genesee County Legislature will be conducting a Committee of the Whole meeting at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Old County Courthouse.

That meeting has been set up for legislators to go over the results of the 2020 Census as they pertain to population shifts in the county’s nine legislative districts.

"For us, we utilize weighted voting in Genesee County … so we have to go through the process of updating our calculations – updating the weighting of each legislative district," he said.

He said the process includes hiring a consultant to certify the results and then a public referendum on the November 2022 ballot to ratify the changes, which would take effect in January 2023.

The regular County Legislature meeting will follow the COW session.

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File photo of, clockwise from left, lobby, kitchen, dayroom, visitation area of facility similar to proposed new Genesee County Jail.

September 15, 2021 - 1:04pm
posted by Press Release in Genesee County Jail, news, COVID-19.

Press Release:

Genesee County Sheriff William A. Sheron, Jr. announces that inmate visitation resumes at the Genesee County Jail effective today. 

August 24, 2021 - 9:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Jail, news, COVID-19.

Press release:

Due to Covid cases within the Genesee County Jail, Sheriff William A. Sheron, Jr. is suspending all inmate visitations effective immediately until further notice. This is a precautionary measure to prevent the risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to inmates’ families and employees.  

July 19, 2021 - 8:46pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Genesee County Jail, County Legislature, SMRT, Pike Company.

Next Wednesday, July 28th, is shaping up as round three in Genesee County’s attempt to get a grip on the size and cost of the new county jail it has been mandated to build by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

At the end of the Genesee County Legislature’s Public Service Committee meeting today at the Old County Courthouse conference room, County Manager Matt Landers said he has received an updated 10-page bed study from the SMRT architectural firm of Portland, Me.

Landers said he plans to go over the report at a meeting of the full legislature next week, and expects to have a revised cost estimate from the Pike Company of Rochester at that time as well.

“We’ve done this twice before,” Landers said. “Going back three or four years, the legislature gave me a thumbs-up, and probably two years ago when we were getting a better handle on the costs, I did it again and got the legislature to agree to $60 million. We were all in agreement – thumbs up.”

Calling the coming session a “good gut check,” Landers said it will be the first time that two new legislators – Brooks Hawley and Chad Klotzbach – will get to hear the full scope of the project.

Genesee County has been conducting its due diligence on the construction of a 184-bed jail on land just east of County Building 2 on West Main Street Road.

Landers is hoping that $60 million figure is still in play, but things could change in this post-COVID environment.

“Now, we’re in a different world, COVID, numbers, everything. So, once again we need to make sure everyone is on board for whatever cost estimates are before us,” he said. “The next thumbs up is going to dictate preparing our bid documents and going out to bid sometime in the spring. If cost estimates are two or three times (what we budgeted for), we’d have to stop and wait.”

He noted that SMRT reported that the 184-bed number is still intact, but even that isn’t etched in stone.

“We all know that the state is taking a left turn, to a degree, with social justice reforms,” he said. “Is that the way it’s going to be for awhile or is there going to be a pendulum swing, using the sheriff’s (William Sheron) words. But how much of one?”

Another factor is whether the state will allow those sentenced for one or two years to be kept in county jail.

“Now, if it’s longer than a year, you’re sentenced to state prison,” Landers said. “The state, using the mantra of social justice and to save money, may decide to shift these people and keep them in (county) jails, which meets their argument of keeping them closer to their families.”

WHAT ABOUT THE CURRENT JAIL BUILDING?

When asked if it was possible to sell the current jail in tandem with the sale of the City of Batavia police station building, Landers said it was “an interesting concept but there a lot of pieces that would have to work together.”

“It’s going to take longer to build a jail than it’s going to take to build a police station. We’re not going to be out of the current jail for two or three years and that’s if there are no cost overruns and we are ready to go in the spring,” he said.

Landers also mentioned that Genesee Justice and the backup 9-1-1 center are housed in the jail building.

“We have to make sure we have the ability to move all of that out into a new location. All of that has to happen,” he said. “And to tie that with the city. They may be waiting on us, and we’re still not out.

“Timing is everything. If everything tied up and we wanted to sell it, maybe it would work, but we have as part of our contract with SMRT a dedicated study to see what we could use the current jail building for in the future.”

The county manager said he has thought about using the jail portion of the building at West Main Street and Porter Avenue as a countywide records’ center.

“I have been thinking that it could be a shared services model because all of these towns have permanent records,” he offered. “We could take a jail cell and say ‘Town of Byron, here’s your permanent records'; 'Town of Bergen, here’s your permanent records’ and actually have a centralized shared service project where all the records from the county come to one area.”

July 13, 2021 - 8:23am

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A frequent contributor to the Batavia City Council scene is suggesting that a package deal combining the current Batavia Police Department headquarters and Genesee County Jail parcels may be the ticket to attracting a potential developer in light of the city’s intention to build a new police station at Alva Place and Bank Street.

City resident John Roach, during the public comments portion of the board’s Conference Meeting on Monday night at the City Centre, asked if anyone was talking to Genesee County leaders about their plan for the jail at the corner of West Main Street and Porter Avenue.

The county is exploring its options as it faces a state mandate to build a new jail, with a site near County Building 2 on West Main Street Road as the proposed location.

“You might get a better deal as a combined parcel,” Roach said. “Find out what they’re going to do and it could have an impact on what to do with the Brisbane building.”

The Brisbane building that he referred to is the former Brisbane Mansion at 10 W. Main St. that sits next door to the county jail. That building -- which may be eligible for classification as a historic landmark -- has housed city police for many years but has deteriorated considerably.

City Manager Rachael Tabelski, responding to Roach’s inquiry, said she thought it was a “great idea to speak with the county and understand their plans.”

“The front of the jail is certainly an amazing historic building that I hope would be preserved by the county through their transition, but I believe it hosts Genesee Justice and I don’t want to speak for the county and I’m not sure what they’re actually planning,” she said.

Tabelski also said she wasn’t sure if the timelines for a new county jail and new city police station would line up, but it was something worth looking into.

She pointed out the drawbacks with the Brisbane Mansion, notably that there is no American with Disabilities Act accessibility and there are problems with the layout that hinder the ability of the force to conduct day-to-day business.

“We went over the presentation two meetings ago and we looked at the timeline. The city has been wanting to address this for over 20 years,” she said. “We’ve come forward with a proposal and a feasibility study to use the parking lot at Alva and Bank Street.”

The city manager underscored the importance of finding a “reuse” for the building, adding that the city has no intention of moving staff into that structure.

“So, we’d like to pursue a path where we put it out for RFP to a developer to take that on and bring that on to the tax rolls,” she advised. “To do that in the best manner possible, you want to make your property attractive to the marketplace and by understanding all of the historical elements inside the building, and having technical assistance reports done of the structure itself and the historical elements …”

For those reasons, she forwarded a resolution – which was later passed by Council – to allow the Batavia Development Corp. to apply for a 2021 Consolidated Funding grant under the New York Main Street technical assistance program.

“I think it is City Council’s wish and I know it is the certainly the wish of many in our community to preserve that building as a historical element in our downtown,” she said. “… if (the grant is) awarded, we would go ahead and do that study. We had a plan to reuse the building at the time we move the police department.”

Tabelski said that the grant-funded study would uncover whether the building would qualify as a historic landmark.

If so, that could open the door for a NY Main Street grant, which the city has been successful in obtaining for the Eli Fish Brewing Co. building on Main Street and Theater 56 at the City Centre.

On another topic, Roach asked about the status of a road project to rehabilitate Harvester and Richmond avenues, which is scheduled for the summer of 2022.

Maintenance Supervisor Ray Tourt said it is currently in the design phase.

In May 2020, City Council appointed the engineering firm of T.Y. Lin International Group of Rochester to provide preliminary and advanced designs with the expectation that they would be completed by the summer of this year.

T.Y. Lin International Group was involved in the city’s Walnut Street Reconstruction Project, the Ellicott Street streetscape project and all of the Batavia Downtown Business Improvement District streetscape initiatives.

Batavian Robert Radley, PE, is the company’s senior vice president and U.S. East Region director.

Plans call for renovation of Richmond Avenue from State Street to Oak Street and for the entire length of Harvester Avenue (from East Main Street to Ellicott Street). City officials previously reported that 95 percent of the $2 million project will be covered by CHIPS (Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program) and Marchiselli Funding* streams.

Tabelski also reported that Jill Wiedrick, the new assistant city manager, will be starting on July 21, and the city is advertising for a permanent Department of Public Works director.

*Given the significant backlog of preservation, rehabilitation and replacement of transportation infrastructure needs that exist at the local level, NYSDOT has initiated a process with metropolitan planning areas and municipalities to revise and align local transportation planning and project selection processes with engineering and economic-based preservation strategies. As part of this initiative, NYSDOT will provide priority consideration for State matching funds, under the Marchiselli program, to federal-aid projects that embrace the Department’s asset management based preservation strategy. Municipally sponsored federal-aid projects considered to be beyond preservation treatments may be considered for Marchiselli funding on a case by case basis. Municipal requests for projects that are considered beyond preservation will be reviewed by NYSDOT’s Comprehensive Program Team (CPT).

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Photo at top: Batavia Police Department station (former Brisbane Mansion); Photo at bottom: Front of Genesee County Jail, which currently houses Genesee Justice.

June 15, 2021 - 1:30pm

Sixteen months ago, Genesee County Manager Matt Landers observed that because of bail reform in New York, it was the “worst time in state history to be building a jail … but it must be built.”

Well, since that time, the COVID-19 pandemic hit society extremely hard – resulting in staggering increases in construction costs – while the legislation that eliminated cash bail for most misdemeanor and nonviolent felony offenses remains in place despite calls throughout the state to “reform the reform laws.”

On Monday afternoon, Landers updated county legislators of the municipality’s state-mandated obligation to construct a new jail, expressing the view that it may be difficult to get under the $60 million price tag for a 184-bed jail on property just east of County Building 2 on West Main Street Road.

“We rely on experts that do build jails across the county and rely on trends and speak to the interested parties in the community to better understand how large a jail to build,” he said. “It behooves us to take a step back and make sure we update this study. And although it is less than four years old, a lot has happened in four years.”

Landers said that a revised report from Pike Company, project construction manager, is nearly finished.

“I have been told that we are days out from getting a draft of it, and then we will study it and bring it to the attention of the legislature for review before we finalize a report,” he advised. “At the same time, there was a smaller meeting of consultants (with county management) to try to get a timeline established of what a restart would look like.”

He said if the county is to make “meaningful moves forward, we really need to understand what kind of costs we’re looking at for the jail.”

Previously, legislators supported a budget of $60 million.

Landers said that “estimates had us right around there – maybe a shade over.”

“So, when we put this on pause (due to the pandemic), we were working really hard to shave it to get under that $60 million goal the legislature had put in place,” he said.

Landers said he had approved having SMRT, an architectural firm out of Portland, Me., do a cost estimate of the final design, based on 184 beds, with the understanding that the county might lop off cells in increments of eight if necessary. He said he expects to receive that report, including the amount of cost savings by reducing the number of beds, in two to three weeks.

When that report is finalized, Landers said that Graham Vickers, principal/director of justice practice for SMRT, will appear before the legislature to go over it and answer questions.

“The cost of the jail may drive additional decisions,” he said, adding that questions being asked now focus on whether to wait for construction prices to come down before relaunching the project.

Landers said that Vickers indicated restarting in July and putting it out to bid in the fall.

“That would be the ideal timeframe where we could have our project out there for bidding before companies are already set up for the following year,” he said.

Landers said a major reason for the update is the fluctuation in jail population in the county over the past two years.

He reported that currently the county is responsible for 50 inmates with six of those females being housed outside of the county. By comparison, there were 141 inmates in June 2019. At that time, the thought was that a 184-bed jail was the right size. Now, the thinking is that it could be too big.

Landers said the county’s plan to partner with Orleans County is on hold, but Genesee can’t afford to delay the project.

“What we can do is move forward with the jail and be a viable option at some point in the future if Orleans wanted to partner with us …,” he said.

He said recently the idea of adding a backup 9-1-1 center at the new jail – a 20-foot by 20-foot space that would accommodate two dispatchers – came to light, with the possibility of obtaining a grant to fund it.

In closing, Landers said much depends on what happens to the bail reform laws – whether further legislation is passed to give judges more discretion in remanding those accused of a crime to jail.

“Everything swings back and forth, but with the state legislature controlled by one party, I don’t see it swinging too far back,” he said.

County Sheriff William Sheron, who also was on the Zoom call, said he thinks otherwise.

“I believe the pendulum will come back,” he said. “People are reoffending and reoffending … it’s just a matter of time.”

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