Officials Check Out New Columbus Co. Jail

COLUMBUS COUNTY -- The county's new jail is just a few feet from the old jail in Whiteville, and has a lot more room for inmates. But now, just weeks away from its expected opening, there may be a problem with its cost.

Sheriff Chris Batten showed county leaders exactly what life is like for inmates in the current jail, where 120 inmates fill a space built for half as many.

But relief is not far off. Construction on the new jail is set to finish in weeks.

County commissioners and other local officials kicked the proverbial tires on the new jail Friday, as they checked out where all the money is going.

The jail is being built at more than $10 million, but the county may need to take out a loan for an additional $2 million to finish it.

The board chair says that's not about exploding costs, but an under-funded budget. Officials say they've done all they can to keep the price tag down.

County leaders liked what they saw behind the doors. They're proud of the new jail, and hopeful that they'll get what they pay for: more space, and room for the future.

Reported by Joe Keiley