AMHERST, Va. — Corrections officials are preparing to open a new regional jail in Madison Heights.

The Blue Ridge Regional Jail will replace existing facilities in Amherst and Appomattox counties. The 179,000-square-foot jail is scheduled to open Dec. 9.

Administrator Elton Blackstock tells The News and Advance that about 120 jobs will be created. That figure doesn’t include employees at the existing jails who will work there.

Blackstock says all inmates in the existing jails will be moved to the regional jail by the beginning of January. The regional jail will have a capacity of up to 380 prisoners, which can be expanded by double bunking.

Amherst County Sheriff Jimmy Ayers says the county’s jail is overcrowded and lacks in a number of other areas.