"This is a landmark day," stated an enthusiastic Carroll County Judge Ed Robertson as he addressed a large crowd that had gathered for a ceremonial ground breaking at the new Criminal Justice Center near Berryville.
Robertson commended area bankers, jail oversite committee members, justices of the peace and state officials for helping to make the project a reality.
He said state Representative Phil Jackson was not able to attend but deserved recognition.
"We need to pay honor to Phil. He got the tax bill through," Robertson said.
He also thanked state Senator Randy Laverty, who stepped forward to say that this was indeed a "monumental day."
"I applaud you all for the work you've done," he told the 40 or so people who had assembled.
Many photographs were taken and plaques handed out to those who had contributed to the jail project.
Stan Hoit, chairman of the Jail Oversite Committee, thanked the committee members for their dedication.
Levi Phillips, one of the members, noted that the jail was designed as a "no frills" facility, and one that will serve the county for many years with its capacity for expansion.
"We've come a long way," he noted.
Carroll County Sheriff Chuck Medford also addressed the group saying "It's been a long time coming and I'm glad to be part of it."
Site work for the facility is to begin immediately. Jimmy Jones Excavation was awarded the contract for the job.
Securtec, an out-of-state firm, was awarded the bid for detention equipment.
A bid package for the 37,600-square-foot building that will house the 98 bed jail and sheriff's office should be ready for advertisement by the end of the month.
A separate maintenance building will be bid later.
Construction is expected to be completed by August or September 2004. Officials believe the jail will be ready for occupancy by January 2005.