Dubuque County officials are moving ahead with a study on possible renovations to the county’s jail.

The Dubuque County Board of Supervisors last week approved a notice of request for proposals for engineering firms to do a needs assessment of the jail. Specifically, supervisors are focusing on the older section, which opened in the 1970s.

Sheriff Joe Kennedy said the request largely is due to liability concerns stemming from the steel-barred cells in the older section. A state inspector and the county’s insurance company have said those should be replaced.

The county expanded the jail in the early 2000s, and that section has more modern features. Women and short-stay inmates primarily are the ones housed in the older section.

Kennedy said another focus would be exploring alternative access opportunities between the old and new sections, as the only passage now is the main booking area. He said when that room needs to be secured, movement between the sides is restricted.

Proposals are due back to the county March 8, and selection of a firm is expected to occur in April.