Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Sheriff's Office

Jail Consolidation Project

The Jail Consolidation Project continued to move forward on the South Tower addition to the Public Safety Building to replace the outdated City-County Building Jail. The Dane County Sheriff’s Office, Dane County Public Works, and Project Architect and Engineering consultants from Mead and Hunt, Potter Lawson, HDR, and construction manager Gilbane have continued to plan for the jail consolidation. The project has continued to evolve as material and labor costs due to the impact of COVID-19 on the economy have impacted the project budget.

The goals for the South Tower project are to:

  • Provide one consolidated jail facility

  • Replace the outdated cell blocks in the City-County Building Jail 

  • Provide appropriate medical and mental health space 

  • Eliminate/greatly reduce solitary confinement

  • Provide visitation at the housing units

  • Provide multipurpose space to meet the programming and spiritual needs of residents

  • Provide a downtown location close to the courthouse and bus transportation 

  • Reduce the total number of beds

  • Improve staffing and operational costs

  • Minimize the impact to the existing operations during construction 

  • Replace the Ferris Huber Center

The Sheriff's Office Transition Team includes: a Lieutenant, Sergeant, and four deputies to lead the project and work with the design team. The Transition Team and many other Sheriff's Office staff continue to meet with the Architect and Engineering team to plan the project. The team is guided by the many reports and studies prepared by consultants and is working to finalize the designs for the facility. The project team has made presentations to the Dane County Board and Committees, community and neighborhood groups, the City of Madison Urban Design Commission, and the project citizens review committee. The project team continues to meet with other stakeholder groups that influence the operations of the Dane County Jail system to ensure the project will meet the needs of all users. The project team continues to refine an updated staffing plan that follows the design.

The new facility will be a modern and innovative facility that is built around the concept of direct supervision of residents by deputy sheriffs in the housing units. The facility will incorporate new technologies in both facility design and operations. The design team is working to implement as much natural light and open spaces into the project as possible and to add biophilic design elements and the use of color theory to bring nature into the building. The use of normalized furniture, fixtures and finishes as much as possible to make the facility less institutional is also a core goal of the design.

The project still has months of design work with the Architect and Engineering Team remaining on the Construction Documents phase to complete the design and construction plans for the South Tower. In 2021, enabling work on the electrical services vault for the project was completed. The South Tower Project will go out to bid to construction firms in the spring of 2023 and construction is planned to start in fall of 2023. The construction and renovation is projected to be completed in 2026.