SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The Northern Branch Jail near Santa Maria was originally slated to open this past spring, but construction was delayed several times.
"COVID-19 certainly didn’t help the situation, it just made it more difficult, and a lot of different challenges and things have happened," said project manager John Green.
Now, construction is almost finished.
"We are working on the floor, it’s going great. We’re right on track, everything looks good to me. I’m not seeing any major issues anywhere, we are really taking our time here. We want to make sure it comes out perfect," said installer Jason Richards.
One of the features of the facility is the six non-contact visiting rooms.
Construction is expected to be finished by January 2021.
But it won’t open until sometime next spring.
"This project is important to Santa Barbara County because this will add 376 beds. It’s looking really good. We’re down to the last few details. We will get our final sign off’s from the state so we can start operating the facility," said Green.
In January, the Board of Supervisors approved a nearly $2 Million increase in jail construction-related funding.
State grants helped fund the new Santa Barbara County facility.
The cost of operating the new jail is estimated at $19.3 million for the 2022-23 fiscal year, based on a November budget report.