Two County Commissioners look to add $10 million to Juvenile Justice Center

Two outgoing Douglas County Commissioners are looking to add an extra $10 million to the county’s $120 million Juvenile Justice Center project.

The facility is already under construction and at a Friday press conference, Board Chair Clare Duda and Commissioner Marc Kraft said that they want to make sure the entire project is built with the highest standards and is totally funded. “As it stands right now, there would be a budget shortfall,” Duda said. “If we continued to kick this can down the road — which is what some commissioners would like to do — Marc and I are of the mindset that we want this project to be made whole. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity here to add on to our 108-year-old courthouse, which has served us very well but is woefully inadequate.”

Duda said the $10 million would come from the county’s general fund but admits the county has extra money in that fund because of unspent CARES Act money, including funds for rental assistance. “Commissioner Kraft and I want to ensure this project is built to the latest standards and that it’s adequately funded prior to our departures from the Board,” Duda said in news release ahead of the update.

Duda said the county needs to pay an extra $10 million to build the center because of legal holdups that increased the initial cost of the project and new building codes that will come in the future. “Changes in how buildings are built now and what constitutes a safe building. Here, we are retrofitting so many of our old buildings with higher grades of HVAC — we want cleaner air. We’re about to start a new building with what does not have the latest and best — probably won’t be in code until like 2022, which is before this building is built. Why in the world would we consider not building the safest building possible?”

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