County gets money for juvenile hall | SierraSun.com
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County gets money for juvenile hall

TIM WILLIS, Sun News Service

Nevada County should have a new juvenile hall within about two years with the state’s formal approval of a $5.39 million grant for the project.

The state Board of Corrections agreed Thursday to allocate funds for the facility.

Construction could start in about a year and be completed by June 30, 2001, said John Wardell, the county’s chief probation officer.

The county plans to build a new 40-bed juvenile hall near Nevada City, although there are still some hurdles to clear.

First, the county must decide on some specifics, particularly whether the new hall should include a laundry and two medical isolation rooms, which Wardell said cost about $200,000 each.

The Board of Supervisors will strive to contain costs because the state money will not cover all of the roughly $7.2 million expense for the project.

Successful redesign

The county has succeeded in a redesign that will allow the grant to pay for the laundry room and cover part of the price tag for the two medical isolation rooms, Wardell said.

The county must still find another $105,000 for the isolation rooms.

The isolation rooms will allow staff to separate juveniles with communicable medical conditions such as scabies, lice and tuberculosis, Wardell said.

TB in particular is a growing problem with adult inmate populations, he said.

The disease is expected to appear among juvenile hall detainees as well.

Two rooms are needed because the juvenile hall staff cannot bunk boys and girls in the same room, Wardell said.

The county also could use the rooms to house juveniles it doesn’t want mixing with the regular hall population, such as runaways that the county shelters temporarily.

The Board of Supervisors discussed the juvenile hall specifications during its afternoon session on Tuesday.

The county also must acquire land for the project and has a purchase agreement for a 50-acre parcel west of the Elks lodge on Highway 49, just west of Nevada City.

The site has been eyed for other future county facilities as well. However, the county attached conditions to the sale that have not been met, so the deal is still tentative, said County Administrator David Brennan.

Another 10 acres

While he declined to identify the unmet conditions, Brennan said the county also is negotiating to buy a neighboring parcel of about 10 acres.

There is still time to acquire a site, Brennan said.

“We won’t be into construction until a year from now anyway,” Brennan said.


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