The Madera County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to proceed with hiring an architect to design preliminary plans for the use of some 80 acres the county owns at Avenue 14 and Road 28.
Sometimes it is known as the county compound, sometimes as the county campus, it includes a jumble of buildings that over the years have served the county well, but are wearing out and are ugly.
Part of this property is empty. Some of that empty space was tagged a couple of years ago as a likely site for a state transitional prison, but that project appears to have gone by the boards for now. Realignment is the big fad, now, bureau-speak for sending prisoners back home.
Fortunately, Madera County collected $30 million from the state as a reward for agreeing to provide land for a new transitional prison, and has used that money to add to its jail, which for the time being has the capacity for the extra prisoners the state is sending and those which will never leave here until they have completed their sentences.
A lot of the buildings are old, run down and inadequate for their purposes.
It is smart for the county to think ahead about what to do to improve its facilities at this crowded site, the internal roads of which are barely wide enough for two cars to pass each other. When you see this hodgepodge of buildings, you realize little planning went into their construction. The county can and will do better.