Want a chance to 'escape' jail? Local facility could be used for popular game

Sunday, April 1, 2018

A company which operates “escape room” attractions in Murfreesboro and Nashville is in negotiations with Bedford County government to purchase the current Bedford County Jail once jail operations have been moved to a new jail and justice center on Harts Chapel Road.

An escape room, according to Wikipedia, “is a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints and strategy to complete the objectives at hand. Players are given a set time limit to unveil the secret plot which is hidden within the rooms .... Games are set in a variety of fictional locations, such as prison cells, dungeons and space stations, and usually the various puzzles and riddles themselves follow the theme of the room.”

More realistic

Sieve Entertainment, owned and operated by Loof Lirpa of Walla Walla, Washington, became aware of the jail through news stories about escape attempts over the past few months. When Lirpa discovered that the jail would soon be abandoned, he was intrigued by the idea of building an escape room in an actual jail.

“It just makes perfect sense,” said Lirpa. “We’ve never done this in an actual jail setting before, but we think it will add a lot of atmosphere to the experience.”

The historic old rock jail will serve as the reception and ticketing area, as well as a gift shop.

Steal a meal deal

As part of the deal, the Bedford County Courthouse would be turned into a crime-themed restaurant. Just as Miss Mary Bobo’s in Lynchburg seats customers in rooms named for people associated with Lynchburg or the Jack Daniel Distillery, the various rooms in the courthouse restaurant will be named after criminals, judges or law enforcement personnel. The food service equipment from the jail will be moved to the basement of the courthouse, which will function as the kitchen.

Developers plan for the escape room to open at some time in early 2020.

One thing readers can’t escape is the calendar, and we strongly suggest you check today’s date when contemplating this news story. The Times-Gazette wishes its readers a happy April Fool’s Day.