Breaking ground on the site of the new Dallas County Public Safety Facility along Highway 6 in Adel symbolized years worth of work on planning and educating the public on the need for the new facility after three previous failed attempts. The $22 million facility, which was approved by voters earlier this year, was celebrated with a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 9.
“This groundbreaking ceremony is something that we’ve waited for for a long time,” said Kim Chapman, Dallas County Board of Supervisors Chair. “There’s been a lot of effort put behind this project.”
Representatives from the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, the Dallas County Board of Supervisors, the Samuels Group and Design Alliance were in attendance, along with other members of the community. Chapman took time to recognize those who had roles in helping make the facility a reality, including Jerry Purdy of Design Alliance, Sid Samuels of the Samuels Group and Sheriff Chad Leonard.
“This is five years, four attempts, three failed attempts, but each time, we learned a lot over the years, every time it got better,” Leonard said during the ceremony.
He talked about the importance of having a citizen committee helping with the effort of getting the bond issue passed this time around, but especially took time to recognize how important it is for his own employees at the Sheriff’s Department.
“There’s 75, 80 employees at the Sheriff’s Office that deserve this, that deserve a better place to work,” Leonard said. “You wouldn’t believe the amount of tours that we did in the jail and the comments that the citizens that came through the jail tours… and said ‘wow, I can’t believe it.’
“They came in thinking we didn’t need it, but they left saying, you know, this is long overdue.”
Leonard said that the facility, now under construction, could be the home of the Sheriff’s Department for the next 100 years, or even longer with expansion possibilities on the site.
“I think this is the future home for an unforeseen amount of years,” Leonard said. “This county’s going to continue to grow and this allows us for the growth, this area here.”
Leonard said that they are right on schedule in starting with the construction. While it is scheduled to take two full years to build, Leonard hopes that they are hoping to complete the project in 20 months, which would shorten the amount of time they would continue to pay to outsource and transport prisoners to other facilities.
With construction started, there is still more work to be done and Leonard is still taking part in meetings, sometimes for 10 hours at a time, planning and designing specific areas of the facility.