The county worked for several years to acquire the ground lease rights for state property near the Orange Correctional Facility (a state minimum security prison) at the intersection of NC 86 and Interstate 85 in Hillsborough (across from McDonalds) to locate the Orange County Detention Center. Ultimately, the County could not negotiate acceptable terms with the state. After this fell through, county staff identified four possible locations - rebuilding on the current site, building next to the courthouse, a site on Highway 86 North near Coleman Loop Road, and the Highway 70 site.
Rebuilding on the current site would require the county to demolish the existing facility and house prisoners in a temporary location during construction. This would cost the county an additional $5.8 million. Building next to the courthouse would have been a major disruption to downtown Hillsborough for the length of the project. The Town of Hillsborough staff did not support either of these options. The Coleman Loop Road site did not have adequate utility service, and was expected to cost a minimum of $700,000 to $800,000 to extend adequate utilities to the site.