ROCKLAND — A replacement of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at the Knox County Jail is leading the sheriff to send half the inmates to another nearby correctional facility.

Knox County Sheriff Tim Carroll said about 30-35 inmates — about half of Knox County’s jail population — will be sent to the Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset.

To offset some of the added expense, Knox County will be sending some of its correction officers to Two Bridges.

“It can get hot in there quick and we don’t want to create an uncomfortable situation, especially if there may be any delays (in completing the project),” Sheriff Carroll said.

The sheriff said he hopes that the relocation of inmates will not last more than a couple months.

The Knox Jail was built in 1990-91 and opened in December 1991, and the HVAC system is the original one. The system was malfunctioning and the decision was made by the county to replace it. He said, however, the replacement may take longer than expected as the contractors wait for parts.

Generally, jails bill outside counties $65 per day per inmate but with Knox County providing staffing help, the cost is expected to drop to $20 per day per inmate to cover things such as added food. Two Bridges has been dealing with a staff shortage as has Knox County and other jails, Carroll said. Knox County sending staff will allow Two Bridges to open a closed jail pod.

The Knox staff was initially hesitant at first but have since agreed to the change.