LIMA — Allen County commissioners have agreed in principle to enter into a contract with Cleveland-based K2M Design to serve as designers and project managers of a new Allen County Juvenile Detention Center. Commissioners still need to pass a resolution, which has not been written yet, to formally enter into that contract.
K2M Design, which has also worked with the county on its county-owned building assessment, brings a familiarity with Allen County with it that would be beneficial to designing the new detention facility, according to Commissioner Jay Begg.
“Our first relationship with K2M was a study that the Department of Youth Services helped us fund to determine whether we should stay where we were at or construct a new facility someplace else,” he said. “The results said pretty heavily that building a new facility would be in best interests of everybody, both from a financial and operational standpoint.”
It is expected that the design phase will take up to a year before construction would begin, with occupancy expected to take place the year after that. The project would be partially funded by a Department of Youth Services grant, which would reimburse the county for 60 percent of the building cost up to a maximum of $6 million. K2M would earn 8 percent of the project’s total cost, which would be as much as $480,000 for a $6 million project.
Part of the need for a new facility, according to Begg, is the shift in focus for juvenile detention from punishment and incarceration to treatment, a new direction that is not conducive with the current structure.
“We’ve been proactive working within the handicaps that our old facility provides to be a treatment center whenever possible,” he said. “We’re hoping to go to a facility that is heavily treatment oriented, trying to put kids on the right path rather than just punishing them for a while.”
While the location of the facility has not yet been finalized, it will not be in Lima’s downtown, Begg said, meaning that a county facility option that would have centralized many county departments in the city center is off the table.
“Almost for sure, we are going to separate detention from the court facility as we go forward,” he said. “We haven’t decided 100 percent that that will be in the courthouse, but that is the way we’re leaning and hoping, that we can move juvenile court into the courthouse.”
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.