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Newscast 10.11.2023: Delayed Woodbury County Jail extra costs estimated at $1.8 million; Schoenherr & Murphy advance in Sioux City Council primary; 3 governors speak in Sioux City

Woodbury County Law Enforcement Center jail rendering
Woodbury County Law Enforcement Center jail rendering

The cost of additional work that is necessary to complete the delayed Woodbury County Law Enforcement Center has now been estimated at a total of $1.8 million.

As the county moves to pivot from an outmoded jail in downtown Sioux City to a new one on the city’s northeast edge, additional work that was not correctly placed into plans will delay the opening from September 2023 to April 2024.

During the Tuesday meeting of the Woodbury Country Board of Supervisors, the $1.8 million dollar figure was publicly shared. The most recent jail cost estimate was $69 million. The county supervisors and other people associated with the jail project discussed other financial topics, such as how much should be devoted in a budget for annual maintenance costs.

The biggest cause of the delay was the recent discovery that a building element that helps when fires break out was not included.

County Supervisor Mark Nelson said for unknown reasons 37 fire dampers were not included in architectural plans. The Iowa State Fire Marshal Office said the building could not open without them. Adding each of the 37 dampers requires a lot of unique custom work.

The supervisors heard Tuesday that the additional work to bring the project to completion means the consulting firm that handles the project’s oversight, The Baker Group, will be paid an extra $34,000 for each month of additional work.

In a memo for the meeting, County Supervisor Jeremy Taylor said the top priority of the county board is to ensure a quality facility opens as soon as possible in a financially responsible way.

Additionally, there was a primary election in Sioux City on Tuesday, when voters selected Julie Schoenherr and Tom Murphy as the two people advancing to the November 7 ballot for one Sioux City Council position.

The primary election results saw incumbent Schoenherr getting 42 percent of the vote. Murphy had 31 percent, and Tricia Frederick placed third.

Since there are more than two people running for a council position, the extra primary election was held one month earlier than the traditional November election, in order to narrow the field to two people.

Schoenherr is attempting to win a second four-year term on the council after first winning in 2019. Voters in four weeks will determine if Schoenherr or Murphy, a former City of Sioux City longtime employee, get the seat.

The Sioux City mayor position is also on the November ballot this year. Mayor Bob Scott is running again and no other candidates filed to oppose him.

Additionally, the three governors from Iowa, South Dakota, and Nebraska, came to Sioux City on Wednesday afternoon to discuss workforce development and other issues.

Governors Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Kristi Noem of South Dakota, and Jim Pillen of Nebraska, said a continuing challenge in the Siouxland states centers on having enough people who are well trained for technical jobs that a variety of businesses are working to fill.

They were taking part in the Tri-State Governors’ Conference, an event held every two years under the direction of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce.