FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A new Allen County Jail has been a big talking point since U.S. District Court Judge Damon R. Leichty ordered the county to increase its jail capacity.

In response, county commissioners have started the time-consuming process of finding a new location for a jail.

They also brought on Elevatus Architecture to consult as they consider new sites, which is the same firm that designed Adams County’s new jail that was built in 2017.

Much like Allen County’s current predicament, Adams County faced overcrowding in its old facility.

“We had 34 inmates originally, the sheriff at the time put in bunk beds, and that raised the capacity to 60,” said Eric Beer, Adams County chief deputy. “When we vacated it, we still had probably 30 people on the floor.”

To solve it, they did the same thing Allen County hopes to do: relocate.

They moved from South 1st Street in Decatur to 911 West Peacekeeper Way, which is more of an industrial area.

The Adams County jail answered a number of questions that have been raised by the proposed Allen County jail.

First, Adams County had to contend with the location of the new jail.

Being in a more industrial area situated next to an RV repair plant, there were initial concerns it wouldn’t fit in.

It’s a sentiment shared by those who are weary of the proposed Allen County jail location being across the street from a school complex.

But fitting in is something Elevatus was aware of then and now.

“This building really ought to fit at home with sort of an industrial feel and not an institutional feel,” said Tony Vie, partner and justice leader with Elevatus, about the Adams County jail.

And Beer couldn’t be happier with the results.

“The only way that you know this is a jail is because our big star is on the front,” Beer said. “I mean you can look at it on the front and it looks like a factory. It really does.”

Another factor in new construction is new jail technology and design principles.

The new jail in Adams County has a pod layout instead of a linear system.

In a linear system, cells are on the sides of a hallway, but a pod system is different.

“Adams County features a housing pod where the housing day rooms are concentric around a center control,” Vie said. “If you look at it on a floor plan, it looks like spokes on a wheel.”

Vie said that it’s something they hope to implement in the new Allen County jail as well.

Elevatus has given input to the commissioners as they evaluate various sites. A final decision and proof of jail purchase have to be given to Judge Leichty by Dec. 16 at a status hearing.