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ORVJC almost ready for move

Long-term repair work is almost complete at the former Ohio River Valley Juvenile Correctional Facility as the county continues the transition of its jail to the Franklin Furnace center.

“The roof has been repaired,” Sheriff Jeff Lawless said. “There is an issue with the boiler and they are getting it repaired.”

Lawless got that progress report during a conference call on Wednesday morning with representatives from the governor’s office and the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. The sheriff was the only official from Lawrence County to participate in the call.

Before the county was to move into the center, the state promised to make significant structural repairs including the roof, lighting and floor tiles.

“Everything else seems to be complete,” Lawless said. “The building is almost in shape and ready to go.”

Earlier this year the county commission agreed to move the jail outside the county following recent state inspections where its facility failed to meet required standards.

However, the county considers the move temporary as it looks at ways to build a new jail within Lawrence. Commission President Les Boggs wants the new facility to be open by 2020.

The state has also applied for a grant to pay for setting up a videoconferencing system where inmates in Franklin Furnace can make their pleas to common pleas court without having to be transported back to Ironton.

“They haven’t gotten any word back from the grant,” Lawless said. “The grant process is still in limbo.”

Also to install that system, the bandwidth in the area must be upgraded.

“What we currently have is not sufficient,” Lawless said. “They are going to work with (the cable companies).”

The next conference call is scheduled for Oct. 29.