LIMA — “You’re not going to feel claustrophobic in any room in this building,” Juvenile Court Administrator Berlin Carroll said as he led a tour of Allen County’s newest building — the updated juvenile detention center.
Set on a plot a short drive north of Lima on Cole Street, the juvenile detention center is a few months away from officially opening, but Carroll led a class from Allen Lima Leadership through the building Friday afternoon to provide insight to operations rarely seen by the public.
As Carroll explained, the new building has much more space, about five times as much, than the county’s current detention center built in 1975, but it isn’t technically an expansion since it houses roughly the same number of juveniles, or 26 beds.
That new space includes multiple classrooms, administrative offices, the lobby, an intake area, a large laundry space, a medical office, a multi-purpose gym, an outside green space and the holding cells, which are located in two separate areas connected by interior counseling rooms.
The building’s embedded technology has also improved from its 44-year-old counterpart, with an updated command center and locking mechanisms.
During the tour, Carroll led the group of roughly 30 throughout the facility answering questions and giving insight into the process of building’s construction, which included a few change orders approved by Allen County Commissioners.
One such question from the group concerned the large plastic beds in the facility, which differ from the concrete beds that are in use currently at the county’s juvenile detention center. Carroll pointed out that the county had originally purchased steel beds, but commissioners approved a $30,000 change order to swap them out with a hard plastic once they learned steel beds could be used for self-harm.
The court system has yet to take control of the facility. Carroll estimated the finished product will be in the county’s hands by mid-July, and at that point, the county will need time to train law enforcement and institute the correct procedures to utilize the building.
The public will also be available to tour the building during a number of open house events Carroll has tentatively set for August.
Begun in May of 2018, the new $6.8 million Juvenile Detention Center was funded with both local funds and state dollars from the Ohio Department of Youth Services. Local funding from Allen County totaled $3.4 million.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.