Board of Supervisors votes to accept bid for construction of new firing range for sheriff’s department

Published 10:19 am Tuesday, August 2, 2022

The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors voted on Monday to accept a bid  for the construction of a new firing range for the sheriff’s department on County Road 309.

The low bid, which was submitted by Southern General Contractors, was for $558,142.75 and beat out the other qualifying bid by over $300,000.

The acceptance of the bid is conditional upon the approval of overages by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, which is providing matching funds for the project through a grant program.

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The county currently only has $364,840 allotted for the project, and will approval from the state to cover the overages, which work out to $100,651.38 a piece.

The board discussed lowering the cost of the project by not including a fence around the facility, but ultimately decided that it would not be in the interest of public safety to have an unenclosed firing range.

“Lafayette County’s growing, at some point we’ll have developments out there. For my conscience, if some little hoodlum like me growing up goes to explore the woods, it won’t keep him out if he wants to but it might deter him,” said board president Mike Roberts.

The new range will feature moving targets, a business pavilion for meetings and lunches, as well as a 12-foot-by-12-foot observation tower that will be manned by a range master while the facility is in use.

“The existing range, which has been there for quite sometime, has become somewhat obsolete,” said Ben Smith, who represented the engineering firm that designed the range.

The range will be used by the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department, the Oxford Police Department and other state and federal agencies that have branches in the surrounding area. It will also be available for public use on designated business days.

“All the local agencies and all the other agencies that are housed here [will use the facility],” said Scott Mills, Deputy Chief at the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department. “Out-of-town state and federal agencies also come—it’s almost in daily use now. That’s why we were glad to get the grant so we can expand and add another range.”