County Officials Considering Uses for Existing Jail Building

starke-county-jail-outsideThe current Starke County Jail in downtown Knox will still be owned by the county and used for correctional programs once the new Starke County Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center east of Knox on State Road 8 opens next year. Commissioner Kathy Norem says the building is part of the collateral for the loan to build the new structure, so it cannot be sold or torn down and must be used in the justice arena. She says the county set aside money to renovate the building.

Norem says future uses of the space are still under discussion, but the building will likely house several departments, including community corrections, probation and the prosecutor’s office.

The county also needs to find space for a morgue. For the past several years a local funeral director has served as the county coroner and used his own facilities for county business. That will no longer be the case when Kris Rannells leaves office in December. Norem says the committee tasked with finding new uses for the space is taking that into consideration as well.

She adds no final decision have been made about how the existing jail will be repurposed. Norem says a lot will depend on the cost of the proposed renovations.