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Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County


Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County

Location: Athens, Georgia

Date Completed: 2017

Project Cost: $73 million

Construction Cost: $54 million

Architect: Rosser International

General Contractor: McKnight Construction

The Jail is a 780-bed state-of-the-art facility organized into nine individual housing units which provide a variety of holding options including dormitory style direct supervision units. Most of the cells and holding areas are arranged around central observation stations which allow for oversight and monitoring. Among its long, high-ceiling hallways, the new Jail provides classrooms and a library as well as other facilities for anger management classes, job readiness initiatives, help with substance abuse problems, and opportunities for obtaining a high school diploma.

The project included a major new addition followed by connection and renovation to a portion of the existing jail. Security and separation between inmate areas and construction was a major priority. The new addition involved major site improvements including roadways, parking lots, perimeter fencing, storm water detention facilities and relocation of an existing lake. The renovation of two existing units involved conversion and updating of security electronic systems as well and security hardware.

The facility provides a bright, well-lit environment due in part to more than 100 skylights. The plumbing system allows automated and individual control by Jail staff to reduce operational costs of sinks and toilets. The building was designed to meet the U.W. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.

“I learned so much about managing from watching Marcus Vess at Collins that I got a promotion! We worked on the addition and renovation of the Athens Clarke County Jail, a complicated project since there was limited access. Marcus is so fair and balanced. It blew my mind. Whenever there was an issue, he listened to everyone, did his research and made the right decision. Because of his patience, civility and commitment to clearly communicate, he made sure the architect, engineer, contractors and owner were all on the same page.”
Anthony Braswell, Field Project Management, McKnight Construction Company