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Final payment made for new holding cells

Final payment to contractors for the addition of five new holding cells at the county jail, and the addition of a new elevator, has been submitted in the amount of $116,324.

County commissioners were told that the overall project came in under budget. The final figure is $1.16 million, well below the original budget of $1.30 million.

"We only had two change orders," said Terry Hoff, Otter Tail County's physical plant manager.

Commissioners praised Hoff and county employees along with the architect, project manager and contractors for a job well done.

The five new holding cells and a second elevator at the county jail are adjacent to the sheriff's office just south of downtown Fergus Falls, near the county courthouse.

County jails all across Minnesota, including the Otter Tail County jail in Fergus Falls, have experienced overcrowding in recent months.

The five new holding cells were added to the two holding cells already in place, for a total of seven at the current time.

A second elevator was needed as a backup when the current elevator at the county jail in Fergus Falls is in need of repair.

Earlier, Otter Tail County Jail Administrator Jim Stewart conducted a tour for county commissioners Doug Huebsch of Perham, Board Chairman Wayne Johnson of Pelican Rapids, Roger Froemming of Parkers Prairie, John Lindquist of Dalton and Lee Rogness of Fergus Falls.

Inmates, due to various factors, are being held in holding cells for longer periods of time. In part, that's a reflection of more people arrested for drug-related offenses.