Missoula County this week approved a $460,000 construction bid to create more parking for the detention center and build a new secured access road leading to the facility.

The project, planned in stages, will be funded through a loan with an interest rate of around 1.5%, county officials said.

“This is going to be in conjunction with the Trinity project,” said undersheriff Rich Maricelli. “In the process of that project taking place, they ended up having to take quite a large number of our parking spots for the detention center itself.”

The Trinity project is under construction on county land next to the detention center. Once finished, it will include 130 units of affordable housing, along with wrap-around services. The apartments include 30 supportive housing units and 100 units of workforce housing.

The county donated the land in 2019, saying it had other options of expanding the detention center if the need arose. But additional parking for the detention center's 120 employees will be key as the new apartment project moves along.

“We've been looking at ways to incorporate a secured parking lot for detention center employees,” said Maricelli. “ We'd also like to incorporate a secured driveway on the west side of the facility.”

The driveway will be accessed off West Broadway through a security gate. The parking lot will add around 52 spots. And while the county could fund the project through cash savings, it will instead apply for an intercap loan.

“That's exactly what the program is set up for,” said county CFO Andrew Czorny. “The interest rate is attractive right now. I think it's 1.5%.”