Inmates Cooking at Closed Down Elementary School - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/27/03

Inmates Cooking at Closed Down Elementary School

On the other side of the South sally port of the Lubbock County jail, the kitchen has been completely gutted. County commissioners told NewsChannel 11 Tuesday there was no way to avoid the cost of fixing the broken down kitchen. They have a jail to run and have more than 700 mouths to feed.

Hunt Elementary School hasn't been open for two years, but there's a lot cooking going on inside the closed down school. About 11 to 12 inmates are shipped over to Hunt Elementary daily to cook for the more than 700 inmates at the Lubbock County jail.

The reason? Twenty year-old cast iron pipes that have corroded causing the jail's kitchen to be ripped apart. "It was getting to where we could not get the sewer out of the kitchen and this was a health issue," said County Commissioner James Kitten.

Kitten says Lubbock Independent School District shut down Hunt Elementary two years ago and were willing to lend the building to the county....at a price. It's costing the county $4,000 to rent the school for four months. And the county also has to spend another $12,000 on two trucks to transport the food to the jail. On top of that, the construction will cost $400,000. A total cost to you of $416,000.

"This is just another thing that's popped up that emphasizes the need for a new jail. I'm sure there are some other areas of the jail that will require attention in the near future," said Jail Director Jim Gross.

The county says they exhausted all their options before making this decision and found this route was the cheapest to the tax payers. The new jail, which will cost around $83 million dollars, will be finished in three years.

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