A three-person committee made up of Crawford County officials will announce their choice of architect for a proposed $20 million detention center Wednesday at 10 a.m.

County Judge John Hall, Sheriff Ron Brown and JP Lloyd Cole, who heads the Crawford County Quorum Court Jail Committee, will put forward their pick to design and contract jail construction, if, during the primary election May 20, voters approve the proposed sales tax to build the jail.

A news conference announcing the choice will be held today at the Emergency Operation Center in Van Buren.

Hall was clear that the announcement merely will be the committee’s suggested choice, which will be put forward to JPs for approval at the Quorum Court meeting March 17.

"This is who we are suggesting to the Quorum Court," Hall said. "The Quorum Court has to approve or disapprove of it."

The committee’s suggestions will come from one of three companies - HMN Architects Inc., SouthBuild TEAM L.L.C. and Cromwell - that were narrowed down in December from a list of seven.

Hall, Brown and Cole met with the three companies Dec. 11 to look over each company’s design and costs proposals. They met again Thursday to determine their pick, Hall said.

"It was tough," Hall said. "They all had some qualifications over the others."

At Thursday’s meeting, committee members looked at the companies’ experience in building jail facilities, how often they have finished a project on time and how much of their bidding process allows opportunities for local contractors, Hall said.

"We are just proposing - from what we’ve seen and heard and felt like - is the best option for us," Hall said.