Gillespie County in central Texas has hired an Austin construction management firm to help it plan for an election in November 2012 for $10.5 million of general obligation bonds to build a new jail in Fredericksburg.

Vanir Construction Management Inc. will assist the county in planning for the new detentions center. The work under the $39,000 contract will include conceptual drawings, calculation of construction costs, and a public education effort.

A consulting company hired by the county in 2010 issued a report in August recommending the construction of new 96-bed jail.

The county has received several warnings from the state of Texas over the last 20 years about overcrowding in the current jail and is paying $400,000 this year to surrounding counties for housing its inmates in their jails.

Gillespie County is operating its current jail under a variance from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards after the facility failed an overcrowding inspection.

Sheriff Buddy Mills said there is only room for 15 prisoners in the 35-year-old jail but there are often 40 inmates that require incarceration.

Mills said the county has been transferring excess prisoners to jails in other counties since 1992.

The county is rated Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service.

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