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Big structural changes coming to the Marathon County Jail

MARATHON COUNTY, Wis. (WAOW) — Marathon County Board Chair Kurt Gibbs, Chief Deputy Chad Billeb, and County Administrator Brad Karger announced on Tuesday that there will be a special meeting to determine what reconstruction action will be taken with the Marathon County Jail.

The jail’s current location has been open since 1988, and has had some serious structural issues since. After assessments from engineering companies over the years, some of the structural concerns weren’t deemed a threat. However officials decided to monitor these areas of concern.

“There were several comments about cracking and other things related to the structure,” County Administrator Brad Karger said. 

“We’ve known about the issue for several years,” Chief Deputy Chad Billeb said. “It’s been monitored and evaluated, and it’s just now with this most recent assessment that they’ve determined that its time to start doing something.”

“Last winter happened and the snow load I’m going to guess put more pressure on the building, and we noticed more movement,” Karger added.

The ongoing foundation and structural issues, like cracks and other damages to the jail, is causing the jail to do things they wouldn’t normally do to ensure the safety of their staff and inmates.

“We have about 25 additional people on electronic monitor that we didn’t have before,” Chief Deputy Billeb said. “And about 55 additional people who were housed here that are now being housed in other counties.”

The last assessment was conducted this year. Now the shoring process, which is used to temporarily resupport and level out a structure, has begun on the bottom of the jail outside, which officials are calling phase one.

“What we’ve been doing through the years is we’ve been adjusting doors and stuff,” Karger stated. “Cause if it sinks just a little bit a door is a pretty sensitive item, and if we shore it up we’ve gotta make sure that if somebody is behind a steel door we can get them out.”

The county board will be presented information pertaining to what needs to be done. The board will vote on the next steps of reconstruction and an estimated price is expected to be determined this week as well.

Rashad Williams

News 9 Reporter

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