County seeks architect for new jail

ALPENA — Alpena County is in the process of seeking an architect to design the new jail to be built on M-32. A request for qualifications is being advertised and bids for the job will need to be submitted by Jan. 2.

A timeline of key events has been released by county officials and it shows how much work still needs to be done before ground can be broken.

Sheriff Steve Kieliszewski shared a copy of the timeline with local media Tuesday and it shows a new jail committee will begin reviewing the qualifications Jan. 3 and a list of finalists for the project will be selected and sent to the board of commissioners on Jan. 17.

On Jan. 23, the commissioners will approve the list of finalists and interviews will be conducted beginning Feb. 12 and ended and ranking done by Feb. 21. The recommended architect will be voted on by the commissioners on Feb. 27 and the contract will be executed.

On March 10, work on the design of the jail will begin.

Kieliszewski said there is a lot of work to do before jail construction can begin. He said the dates can always change, which could possibly speed up the progress or slow it down. Kieliszewski said the design phase of the project will be quite lengthy and his best estimate for when construction will begin is in the spring of 2019.

“The architectural phase is going to be long and so large that it is hard to really say when construction will start,” he said.

Kieliszewski said members of the jail construction committee, consultant Rod Miller and the architect likely will visit other jails and some aspects from them could be included in the blueprints as the design phase is moving forward.

“Doing the blueprints is going to be a long and laborious process, but I’m sure we will be able to add things or make small tweaks,” he said.

Miller was hired and had a contract approved at Tuesday’s meeting. He will take part in the review of the qualification bids and helping select the finalist.

Miller was hired by Oak City Contracting LLC, which worked with the county during the millage process, but was hired independently this time.

Kieliszewski said having Miller help go through the design, construction and transition phases will help as well ensure the project goes as smoothly and timely as possible.

According to Kieliszewski, Miller is highly respected internationally for his knowledge for planning and construction of jails and prisons.

Voters approved the one-mill millage in November that will cover the cost of the new jail, operations and staffing increases. There is no estimate on when construction will be completed and the jail opened.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews.