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County jail still awaiting air conditioning replacement

Inmates and staff within the Pearl River County’s Lenoir Rowell Correctional Facility are still awaiting the replacement of two 55-ton HVAC units that provide air conditioning to the inmate cells.

The air conditioning unit for side B is no longer functional, while the unit for side A is still functioning, said Chief Deputy Shane Tucker. To keep inmates cool, fans are being used to circulate air from side A to side B, and portable air conditioning units have been placed in some of the cells, Tucker said.

“Obviously, it’s not as efficient as it should be, but that’s why the new units are coming,” Tucker said.

Tucker said the non-functioning HVAC unit at the Millard facility does not create a life-threatening situation.

The jail has had issues with the air conditioning units before, but those problems have always been resolved within a week or two, Tucker said. However, the current units must be replaced due to age, he said.

The contractor has ordered the units and their estimated delivery date is July 25, said County Engineer Les Dungan. The new air conditioning units were ordered in June, according to previous coverage. Sometimes the air conditioning units are a week or two behind schedule, Dungan said.

Dungan said, and after the units are delivered to the jail, they should be installed and operational within two days. The air conditioning units should be functioning by the first part of August.

A contract to replace the two 55-ton air conditioning units was awarded to Universal Services LLC for $201,000 by the Board of Supervisors in May.

Replacing the two 55-ton units is phase two of a larger project to update the jail’s air conditioning system. In phase one, a 75-ton unit at the front of the building was replaced, Dungan said. Universal Services was the same contractor that replaced the 75-ton unit at the front of the jail.

The 75-ton unit was bid in October of 2018, awarded in November and work was completed on the project in April, Dungan said.