Several major building projects – including a state-of-the-art facility for the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences and a voter-approved jail inmate processing center – officially are in the pipeline after Commissioners Court on Tuesday approved a $305 million capital improvement program.
At the top of the list is the $100 million city-county inmate processing center, which will be built across the street from the main county jail. The 254,000-square-foot facility is expected to help expedite inmate booking by allowing some to bypass certain time-consuming processes.
The county and city of Houston are splitting the cost to build the facility, which will allow the city to shutter its two aging jails when it opens in about three years. The county will contribute $70 million with a bond issue narrowly approved by voters last November; the city will provide $30 million.
Construction will begin this fall.
A $65 million building for the Institute of Forensic Sciences, which will break ground this fall, will house the county medical examiner and the county’s crime lab. Construction is expected to take two and a half years, said John Blount, director of architecture and engineering.
See here, here, and here for the background on the processing center. One of those links mentions that construction for the processing center is expected to take about three years. The Institute of Forensics Science is the county’s new crime lab facility. It was approved for construction back in 2012, and a separate DNA forensics lab is already open.