Although an opening date is not yet set for the new Clinton County Law Center, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel as employees of the sheriff’s office employees started moving into the facility Monday. 

Clinton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dan Srp said Friday that the next big step for the county is to have the state jail inspector come in and sign off on the building as being ready to be occupied and used as a detention facility. 

Srp said the anticipated inspection date is slated in about three weeks, but it is contingent on when other items are completed. 

Clinton County Facilities Manager Corey Johnson, noted that the jail remains off limits to visitors, said the jail cannot be inspected until the building is 100 percent completed.

“There can’t be leftover ceiling tile or carpet in the building, even though it’s what they call our attic stock that we get to hold on hand,” Johnson said. “All bed mattresses have to be in place. All water valves and sinks have to be tested (for things like) pressure and splatter. The building has to be just like we’re ready to walk into it with inmates that very first day.”

Johnson added that the state jail inspector will measure the size of every cell and day room. He said even the amount of light intake that comes into each cell will be measured. 

He said the jailers also will carry out a simulated fire sometime before the inspector arrives. The jail will be filled with smoke to make sure all the systems are working properly. The inspection will span two days, Diesch said.

Srp said that the county is committed to ensuring the jail will meet the requirements of the state jail inspector and have him sign off on the building before scheduling any community events, such as public tours. Srp and Johnson confirmed that the county is planning on offering the tours, but the priority first has to be to pass inspection. 

The grand opening for the jail initially had been scheduled for June 22, but construction and installation crews had trouble obtaining all of the necessary equipment on time.

“We want to be thorough and be correct in how we move forward,” Srp said. “For now, that process is to get the inspector through and get him to sign off. And then we will immediately be scheduling for those open house dates and completing the rest of the transition of moving the inmates into the new building and beginning the process that you outlined of removing the existing law center and starting to transition that space into our new parking lot.”

Johnson anticipates that the old jail will start to be taken down in mid-September.

John Rohlf is a Clinton Herald staff writer.