Final plans for Scott County’s new juvenile detention center approved

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 11:22 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - In a near-unanimous vote, the Scott County Board of Supervisors approved the final plans for the new Youth Justice and Rehabilitation Center.

Although the proposed juvenile detention center ran into some controversy along the way, no one spoke at a public hearing before Thursday’s vote.

The current Scott County Juvenile Detention Center holds 16 people and is licensed for 18 beds. The new Center would hold 32 people and be licensed for 40 beds.

Director of the county’s Juvenile Detention and Diversion Programs, Jeremy Kaiser, said it was a long process leading up to the approval.

“We’re all excited to have a facility a state-of-the-art facility where youth can live and receive treatment, and learn to become better citizens ultimately,” Kaiser said.

A soon-to-be-constructed building will mostly house the Juvenile Detention Program, with county offices utilizing part of the second floor.

Plans for the YJRC include bright colors and more natural light to be let into living spaces. Kaiser said this allows for better results among incarcerated minors.

“[It’s] a more normative type design, similar to a library [or] a classroom,” Kaiser said. “Whereas the building that we’re in now ... it’s old, it’s dark, it’s dingy [and] it’s out of date.”

According to the board’s lone dissenting vote, Ken Croken, the average daily population of the current facility does not justify expansion.

“We are doing so without any demonstration of need,” Croken said. “We are doing so without a clear understanding of who it is we will be incarcerating.”

However, John Maxwell said expansion leaves the county prepared if the capacity is eventually needed.

“We can have all sorts of different folks amongst that and keep them separated,” Maxwell said. “This gives us that ability and the ability to do a lot of things with it. "

The estimated price tag of construction is just over $26 million. According to officials, the detention center portion will cost about $24 million to build. Demolition of a county warehouse on the approved site at 4715 Tremont Avenue is already underway.

Kaiser said they hope to break ground sometime this fall.

“We’re hoping to select a vendor in early September,” Kaiser said. “Then as long as one is under budget, we can bring it to the board for approval.”

The board also approved the first reading of an ordinance to officially change the name of the Juvenile Detention Center to the Youth Justice and Rehabilitation Center. That passed in a vote of four to one, with Croken voting against. That ordinance needs to pass two more readings before it’s official.