Marquette Co. jail renovation to finish by summer

Kelsie Thompson
The Mining Journal (Marquette)

Marquette — After a slight lull in construction during the holiday season, a $1.6 million renovation project at the Marquette County Jail is well underway and on schedule to be completed in spring or early summer.

“Renovations haven’t been done since it was built in 1976,” Undersheriff Mike Klein said. “We’re bringing it up to code. Every cell here is being renovated.”

A major update to the 40-year-old facility includes inverting the doors of each cell so they open outward instead of into the cell to ensure the safety of the staff and inmates.

“When pushing the doors in, an inmate could barricade themselves in, and it’s hard for the staff to get in there,” Klein said. “There is also a hanging hazard.”

A system of electronic locks is also being installed, which gives staff the ability to lock and unlock all doors from a control room. Keys will be used as backup form of entry, Deputy Ryan Kainulainen said.

Other updates to improve safety and security include new camera systems, which will give jail staff 360 degree views of the general population areas, as well as views of each maximum security cell, and an updated fire alarm system.

During construction, which began in October, the sheriff’s office has used the newly renovated Marquette County Community Corrections Detention Center in Chocolay Township to house displaced inmates.

“It’s really nice to have that flexibility,” Klein said. “It takes the pressure and stress off the main staff.”

Kainulainen said the renovations are being well-received.

“It already looks a lot different,” he said.