Members of the Marinette County Building and Property Committee, including from left, Mike Cassidy, Vilas Schroeder and chairman Mike Behnke, talk to Chris LaBre of Johnston Furnance Service about the pool heater and pump at the UW-Fieldhouse Tuesday in Marinette. It was part of a tour of county buildings by the committee. The tour will continue next month. <br> <i> EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
Members of the Marinette County Building and Property Committee, including from left, Mike Cassidy, Vilas Schroeder and chairman Mike Behnke, talk to Chris LaBre of Johnston Furnance Service about the pool heater and pump at the UW-Fieldhouse Tuesday in Marinette. It was part of a tour of county buildings by the committee. The tour will continue next month.
EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
MARINETTE - A recent state inspection found wear and tear throughout the jail portion of the nearly decade-old Marinette County Law Enforcement Center.

The wear and tear includes rusted vents next to toilets in cells, according to the report on the inspection discussed Tuesday by the county board's Building and Property Committee.

"Although the facility is only nine years old it is important to remember that it is utilized on a continual 24/7 basis," said Nancy Thelen, detention facilities specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. "That being said during the inspection process notice was taken with regard to ongoing wear and tear throughout.

"The age is beginning to show in areas that should be reviewed for upkeep. Painting, flooring, rusted vents and other areas were noted. It is recommended that a joint tour of management with maintenance be done to formally identify areas that should be focused on. Formal documentation should be done and a plan for addressing should be completed."

The tour she recommended was taken by the committee Tuesday as part of its annual inspection of county facilities. Before the tour, it decided not to develop a plan of action until more information on costs is available.

Jail Administrator Bob Majewski told the committee regular maintenance to the jail has been difficult to do the past couple of years because of high inmate populations.

"We used to go in once a year to do maintenance, to do painting and fix carpet and tile and stuff like that," he said. "We haven't been able to do that in the past couple of years with high jail populations, this year especially.

"Scheduling is part of the problem. We need enough people to do it and I need enough room to do it. We have to coordinate it. We need to do something."

Majewski said Tuesday the jail census was 128, 37 short of capacity, but that some of the vacant cells can't be used because of the high number of female inmates that need to be segregated.

Supervisor Mike Behnke, committee chairman, said the wear and tear to the jail must be addressed.

"When the inspection was done, if it wasn't important enough to fix it, it wouldn't be on the list (of recommendations)," he said. "So we should address it and keep the maintenance up on it.

"This might be something that would take six months to complete. We'll investigate it, then we'll get some cost figures and put it on next month's agenda."

During the tour, the committee viewed bent and scratched metal, damage to tile and carpet and rusted vents next to each toilet.

"You need to get stainless steel (for the vent covers)," said Supervisor Vilas Schroeder, county board chairman and a member of the committee. "The architect wasn't on the ball on that."

Majewski said the lack of upkeep in the cell areas could hurt the morale of inmates.

"It kind of affects the morale of the inmates," he said. "We try to keep it as clean as possible.

"We used to try to schedule a day (for maintenance). We used to clear out a pod and they'd (a maintenance crew) come in here. Pretty soon we're going to have to budget to replace all of that."

On a positive note during the tour, Majewski pointed out an area of the jail where new surveillance cameras have been installed and later supervisors were able to see how they improve the images corrections officers see in the master control area.

Later on Tuesday, the committee took a thorough tour of UW-Marinette buildings, starting with the Max E. Peterson Field House.

At the field house supervisors were told how much a new lighting system improved the appearance of the pool area.

They proceeded to the campus where Kurt Willman, UW-Marinette assistant dean, showed them the nearly completed roof project on one building and then gave them tours of the others.

Other improvements he cited to the committee included a new telephone system, installation of several new windows and the availability of wireless Internet service.

He emphasized the need for improvements to the Herbert L. Williams Theatre building used for Theatre on the Bay productions and many other events.

"For a community this size, we have a lot of theatrical events in here," he said. "This space is starting to show its age.

"We did replace our sound board, but our speakers are old. The huge thing is our lighting system, it is just antiquated and we absolutely need to replace it.

"There's been a few times during mid-performances where the system totally failed and we've had to jury-rig things just to finish the show. It's really been a great concern."

He said there's also broken seats that they do the best they can to repair.

"We really need to do carpeting and seats in here and a new lighting system," he said "2015 is our 50-year anniversary and we are probably going to do some type of fundraising campaign."

Willman thanked the committee for the county's support of UW-Marinette.

"We appreciate the support you guys give us," he said. "I've been pleased with the relationship since I've been here."

The committee will complete its inspection of county buildings at its Sept. 10 meeting, when it plans to tour the courthouse and Health and Human Services and Highway Department buildings.