Circuit judge rules in favor of Brookings County in jail expansion

BROOKINGS, S.D. (KJJQ) – A circuit court judge rules in favor of Brookings County and says the construction of a jail expansion may move forward.

That ruling came down Friday in the case of Brookings County versus the City of Brookings.

A year ago, the City Council voted 5-2 to head to court for a decision on the expansion.

The jail is adjacent to the courthouse in a historic district and the state Historical Society and local Historic Preservation Commission opposed the expansion, saying it would “encroach upon, damage, or destroy” the historic property. A building permit had been denied.

Judge Kent Shelton ruled the City of Brookings was mistaken in its judgement and the county is not required to obtain a building permit from the city for a jail. He says County Commissions are required by statute to establish and maintain county jails.

Brookings County completed its own review and determined there were no feasible alternatives. The judge agreed.

Brookings County Sheriff Marty Stanwick shares his thoughts.

He says it will still take some time to get this built.

Stanwick says the expansion will include medical facilities, something he could really use during this virus outbreak.

The sheriff says, because of the dispute with the city, the cost of the jail has climbed from $12.5 million to 15-and-a-half million.