SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Minnehaha County wants to move its 200 minimum and medium security inmates from the work release center on Russell Street into a different facility.
For decades the sheriff's office has been running the program out of a building that sits right across the street from Howard Wood Field. Minnehaha County officials say it’s showing its age.
"It was the Elks Club and it was a great place to have a steak dinner but it was never designed to have 200 inmates in 24 hours a day. The building is aging in dog years," Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead said.
For the past 20 years, 1900 West Russell Street has been home for low-risk inmates as they go back and forth to jobs in the community.
The building will soon sit in the shadow of the new events center that is being built right across the street and that's why county officials say it's time to start looking for a new place for the work release center.
"We knew that that particular operation wasn't going to be the highest and best use of that property and it just so happens it coincides with our long-range plan to look for a more appropriate facility and location for the work release program," Minnehaha County Commission department head Ken McFarland said.
The county has already had the building appraised and set aside money to explore new options.
And in just a few weeks the National Institute of Corrections will be in Sioux Falls to analyze the Minnehaha County jail system. Officials say then they'll know what kind of facility they need if and when, they move out of the current work release center.
"So they can take a look at what kind of programming are we going to need and to help along that investigative process," McFarland said.
"It's a good time to look at moving to a different location. Its prime real estate now on a golf course with an events center being built," Milstead said.
And that's why the days may be number for a facility that's been on Russell Street for decades.
County officials are just exploring the options right now and don't have any timeline to move out of the building. They have received no offers at this point to buy the property.
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