The estimated cost to expand the Lincoln County jail is moving higher, according to an estimate by the original architect.

Bill Treanor, who designed the jail in 2009, gave the county commissioners cost and timeline projections during the commissioners meeting Monday.

It would take about a year to expand the size of the jail by 25%, Treanor said, although the building was initially designed to accommodate the expansion.

Treanor said the cost of the expansion could be around $5 million, which is about 25% more than Lincoln County Sheriff Jerome Kramer initially estimated.

Kramer projected the addition would cost around $4 million, an amount Kramer said could be repaid as quickly as two years. The money to pay the bills would come from payments from other law enforcement agencies that put their prisoners in the Lincoln County jail. Lincoln County receives about $1 million a year now for those “contract prisoners.” Kramer said that amount of revenue could double with the expansion.

In addition to the $4 million, Treanor said there would be other “soft costs” on top of the previous estimate. He mentioned surveys and technical upgrades.

When Commissioner Jerry Woodruff questioned the increase, Chairman Joe Hewgley explained it this way. Hewgley said adding another 10% for unforeseen expenses (contingencies) is appropriate. He would also add another 10% if it is a “Buy American” project. Together, those two factors would add another $800,000 to the original $4 million project, he said.

The Buy American Act of 1933 requires U.S.-made products to be used in federal projects. Hewgley speculated that the jail expansion would be a Buy American project because the jail contains federal prisoners.

Treanor said groundbreaking could be held in the spring and the addition would be ready for occupancy in late 2020 at the earliest, or more like early in 2021. He said the addition, and a remodeling project to the existing jail, could be built with virtually no disruption to ongoing operations.

The commissioners took no official action.