County dedicates new juvenile hall
Judge Carl F. Bryan II can’t remember a better day in Nevada County.
The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the long-awaited dedication of the Carl F. Bryan II Juvenile Hall had finally arrived.
“There are a lot of people here that held out hope for this day,” the judge said Wednesday before a crowd gathered for the hall’s dedication and official ribbon-cutting ceremony. “This is a great day for Nevada County.”
Bryan said he was honored to have the facility named after him, but was most excited about the hall’s completion and what it will mean to the county’s wayward youth, their families and the community in general.
Why is it a great day? Bryan asked.
“No longer are we going to have a waiting list, no longer,” he said.
Bryan said the new hall’s expanded capacity will also allow for more quality rehabilitation programs that look beyond incarceration.
“These kids will come out better than when they go in,” he said.
People will be amazed by the differences between the old and new facilities, said John Wardell, the county’s chief probation officer.
The old and notoriously overcrowded hall has only 19 beds, compared to the new facility, which has 30 beds and the potential to house up to 60 juveniles.
Wardell said the old facility was built in 1955, and began as a “mom-and-pop operation” run by a couple who lived on site and gave shelter and direction to teen-agers in trouble.
To match a growing population and its subsequent increase in juvenile crime, Wardell said, the county added on to the facility through the 1960s and ’70s.
“By the ’80s, we had added on to the point that it became an architectural disaster … which did not lend itself to conducive rehabilitation,” Wardell said.
Wednesday’s ceremony included recognition of past and present decision-makers and supporters of the new hall, which included a long list of judges, probation officers and elected officials.
“This is truly an important milestone in our effort to provide a state-of-the-art juvenile justice facility and to implement new programs that will help our troubled youth before it’s too late,” said Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Barbara Green.
Green gave credit to Judge Bryan for his unwavering vision and the resolve to pursue the goal despite many hurdles; the citizens of the county for their support of the project; and former Supervisors Karen Knecht and Sam Dardick, who sat on the board when the project was approved and helped make the tough decisions needed to move the proposal forward.
Knecht said there was a lot of heated discussion about how the county would pay for the multimillion dollar project, which was eventually funded by a $5.39 million state Board of Corrections grant.
“It’s a facility that will last long into the future and pay itself off in the long run,” she said.
“As far as the needs and rewards, this is one of better buildings Nevada County has built,” Knecht said. “I think there will be successful rehabilitation with the new programs that weren’t possible in the old hall.”
Juvenile offenders will be moved from the old hall to the new facility sometime in February. The facility is on Highway 49, a mile west of Rood Administrative Center.
Including off-site utility costs and construction overruns, the cost of building the hall stands at $8.27 million.
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