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The Asheville Citizen-Times reports (Here’s an excerpt; click the link to read the entire article):
A renovation project means the former Buncombe County Jail space in the top five floors of the county courthouse soon will not be as colorful as it once was, but it will be more useful.
Workers a few weeks ago began the job of cutting the old jail’s metal bars into smaller pieces, piling them into a huge bucket and using a giant crane to lift them out of the building through holes in the building’s roof.
It is part of a project to add elevators, stairs and restrooms to the courthouse that will also involve renovating the former jail space into offices for probation officers and the county’s pre-trial release and day reporting programs.
In other words, the place where alleged and convicted criminals once stayed behind bars will instead be filled with workers dedicated to keeping people out of jail.
The jail opened when the courthouse did in 1928 but has sat largely empty since the Buncombe County Detention Center opened just east of the courthouse in 1996.
Access to the jail fell well short of fire codes; worries about the difficulty of getting inmates out in case a blaze forced the abandonment of the jail. Renovations will dramatically improve access.