Community concerned over jail on Missouri School for the Deaf campus

7 months 3 weeks 2 days ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 3:44:00 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
By: Shelby Lofton, KOMU 8 Reporter and Claire Bradshaw, KOMU 8 Digital Reporter
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FULTON — A building on the Missouri School for the Deaf's campus may become the new location of a county jail.

Community members met Friday at William Woods University to discuss the proposed location for the new Callaway County Jail. The proposed site is at Rice Hall on State Street near the edge of campus. The building is currently owned by the state and not being used by school.

The current jail is deteriorating with foundation issues that have both inmates and personnel concerned.

Members of the deaf community expressed concern at the Friday meeting. Many said they are worried about how the jail could affect the school, and they also were concerned about the safety of the students with the jail so close to campus. 

“If any of those inmates might escape, they might do something illegal," said alumna Mary Kistner. "That makes our entire campus very nervous."

The Missouri School for the Deaf currently has 56 students enrolled and has an elementary, middle and high school. The students live on campus and attend Monday through Friday.

Some were worried the school's enrollment would be affected by the jail, and others didn't like a jail being close to Veterans Park and surrounding residential areas. Some suggested that the building should be used for something else, like a nursing home. 

Gary Jungermann, Callaway County presiding commissioner, attended the meeting to hear concerns. Those speaking were asked by event coordinators to not direct questions to Jungerman.

“I thought it was a wonderful meeting to see MSD students and past [students] come out and fight for something they are very proud of,” Jungermann said. 

Rice Hall is not looking like the best option for the new county jail, Jungermann said, but the decision is up to state lawmakers.

“It is not nearly the savings the county originally thought it would be," he said. "It’s not looking real good for an option for us.”

Attendees were urged to call county and state officials to urge opposition of the jail. Sen. Jeanie Riddle, R-Mokane, sponsored a measure for the county to take over the building.

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