News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 20, 2013

Firm selected for Clay corrections building

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Clay County Commissioners have approved an engineering firm to design a new community corrections building, to be located on land that once housed a county jail.

In addition, commissioners accepted a letter of understanding for an “unofficial detour” as work is slated to repair a bridge just west of the intersection of Indiana 59 and Indiana 46.

A proposed 3,100-square foot single-story building, with a full basement, is proposed at the corner of Jackson and Alabama streets in Brazil. The new building’s estimated cost is $500,000, said Mary Brown, executive director of Clay County Community Corrections.

The building is planned to have two conference rooms and six offices. The basement would be used for storage.

The building would provide confidentiality when working on cases, Brown said, and handle an expected growth in numbers because of changes in state criminal codes, aimed at increasing the number of people placed into community corrections, rather than prison.

“Confidentiality is our biggest concern right now. When we have someone in the office, you can hear them,” Brown said. “As far as case management, that is a big issue for us right now.”

Community Corrections is now located on the third floor of the Clay County Courthouse, its third location since being formed in 2003, after separating from a joint venture with Putnam County.

The agency does not offer work release, but handles home detention, day reporting, community service and drug screening, Brown said. The office has four staff members.

Clay Commissioners on Wednesday approved Hofmann Engineering to design the office building on the north side of the former jail property, along with a storage building for the Clay County Sheriff’s Department, planned for the south side of the property.

Funding for the Community Corrections building and storage building would likely come from the county’s cumulative capital development fund and would require approval from the Clay County Council, said Paul Sinders, president of the Clay County Board of Commissioners.

In other action, commissioners accepted a letter of understanding to provide an unofficial detour route during a closure of a bridge along Indiana 46, west of its intersection with Indiana 59. The unofficial route is County Road 250 West to Lower Bloomington Road to Indiana 59.

“The state has its official detour route using a state highway or the interstate, but of course a lot of local people will not use that because it is a much greater distance and will [instead] use the county roads,” Sinders said.

The Indiana Department of Transportation, as part of the letter of understanding, has agreed to reimburse Clay County for any damage while county roads are used as an unofficial detour route. All reimbursement work must be approved by INDOT before repair work is done, according to the agreement.

INDOT is still evaluating the Indiana 46 bridge over Birch Creek, which is currently undergoing a load rating analysis, said Debbie Calder, INDOT spokeswoman. That analysis is expected to be completed “within the next few weeks,” Calder said.

The bridge currently has a 3-ton load limit.

“INDOT will continue to work on accelerating construction such that weight limits could be increased,” Calder said. “This bridge is already in INDOT’s capital program as a replacement contract and is scheduled for bids in August of 2014.”

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or