More space is needed for programs designed to steer teens and children away from crime, so the county is considering plans to renovate the juvenile detention center in Franklin.
The county will receive about $92,000 in grant funds this year from the Indiana Department of Correction that can be used to pay the costs of providing juvenile detention services.
Detention center director Kristi Bruther wants to use most of that money to rebuild part of the 22-year-old building located off Hospital Road in Franklin.
The county’s community corrections program moved into the building, and the two departments don’t have enough space to run programs, especially after school hours, she said.
That’s forced them to conduct some programs for teens off-site, such as at nearby Johnson Memorial Hospital.
Part of the lobby of the juvenile detention center would be renovated, and an outdoor visitation area would be enclosed to create classroom and meeting spaces, Bruther said.
“We run several programs, and some of them overlap in timing because we have to do things after school. So we want to just have more space; and the areas we use are small, and we do some family groups and some orientations that are bigger,” Bruther said.
About 2,000 children or teens are housed or referred to probation officers for programs or community service through the juvenile detention center and community corrections programs each year.
The center and programs are paid for by property taxes and fees paid by families.
The construction could cost up to $97,000, according to an early estimate, but Bruther expects the actual cost would be less once the project is designed.
The county will get about $76,000 in grants, but Bruther said more grants could be available next year to help pay for the project, otherwise she would use money already in the budget or scale back the project.
Commissioner Brian Baird plans to meet with Bruther to review possible construction plans. The renovation could begin early next year if the project is approved by the commissioners, Bruther said.