The St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday celebrated the grand opening of its new five-acre public safety complex, which has enough space to consolidate almost all of its operations into one building, freeing space at the downtown jail for a potential expansion.
Renovations took about two years for the $2.1 million project inside the 24,000-square-foot former Acadiana Preparatory School at 1592 E. Prudhomme Lane near Interstate 49 and U.S. 190. Most departments began moving from locations scattered throughout the parish and into the complex in late February.
Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said the facility is paid in full after setting aside revenues each year since he took office in 2006.
Administrative offices once located on the first floor of the St. Landry Parish jail in downtown Opelousas are now in the new facility, along with every department but the civil and training departments.
Although the goal is to ultimately move the civil department from the courthouse to the new facility, plans to renovate the gymnasium to house the training department may begin in the next year, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Clay Higgins said.
“That gymnasium is a perfect environment for growing the training division and for allowing it to have an excellent facility so they can do their job,” Higgins said.
The facility also has a new crime lab to do in-house evidence processing, Higgins said.
At the jail, Guidroz has said he has wants to add dorm-style housing for 20-30 more inmates on the first floor, where nonviolent offenders are housed and where several offices were left vacant once the new facility opened this year. The jail expansion would have to first gain approval from parish government, although no formal proposal has been presented, he said.
The jail currently has capacity for 232 inmates.
Two deals fell through prior to the new facility’s purchase.
Guidroz was in negotiations to purchase the former Service Builders location immediately north of Opelousas when he pulled out of the deal in November 2012, because it would have required millions of dollars in financing, he said at the time.
An attempt to purchase a former car dealership lot in Opelousas fell through in late 2010 after the proposal drew strong objections from members of a nearby church.
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