Youth facility asks for $8 million in 'priority' renovations [Montgomery Advertiser, Ala.]
(Montgomery Advertiser (AL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Aug. 15--The Montgomery County Youth Facility will need approximately $8 million in "priority" renovations and upgrades over the next few years, according to juvenile court administrator Bruce R. Howell.
Architects hired by the County Commission earlier this year to identify the facility's needs made a presentation to the commission Monday. The total cost of the project could be as much as $8.2 million.
Frank Litchfield, an architect with Seay Seay & Litchfield, said the structure and layout of the building is in good condition, but the technology and systems are "worn out and out of date."
The 40,000-square-foot building, located at 1111 Airbase Boulevard, was constructed in 1969, and has housed the youth facility ever since. Piping and duct work was done in 1989, and the lights were replaced in 1990, Howell said. The kitchen equipment, roof, locking mechanisms and sprinklers are more than 22 years old.
Litchfield said the top priority is replacing the heating and cooling system, which will cost about $2.5 million. Replacing the system will also require refurbishing the carpet, refurbishing the ceilings and replacing lighting with code-complaint, energy efficient lights, which brings the total cost to about $5.8 million.
Platt Boyd, one of the architects working on the project, said the energy-efficient lighting and new heating and cooling will save the county a lot of money in utilities over time.
But because of regulations, initially the cost is high.
"When you fix (the heating and cooling system), it causes a ripple effect of other things that need to be fixed," Howell said. "Under new state and federal guidelines, you have to change those out while doing the ceilings."
The architects put together a list of about 12 projects that need to be done to the facility. Howell said the first six will be necessary over the next few years to keep the facility running for the next 20 years.
Second to the heating and cooling system is replacing the security control systems for detention areas, which includes replacing the lock system, sprinkler heads and video surveillance, Litchfield said. The sprinkler heads are life threatening, and inmates could use them to hang themselves, he said.
Other priorities in the top six include making the toilets and courtrooms compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, installing code-compliant vent hood systems in the kitchen, replacing the roof and installing a 300 kilowatt diesel backup generator.
Litchfield said the projects can be funded in phases or all at once. He said each project will have to be done in phases so no one has to be moved during the process.
"It depends on how the County Commission wants to look at it and fund it," Howell said. "They asked us to tell them what we needed, and that's what we did."
Howell said there was discussion about building a new youth facility when the family court moved out to the facility in 2007. Now, the commission is renovating one of its buildings downtown so the family court can move back.
Howell said a new facility would have cost between $30 and $40 million, and it would have been difficult to find an appropriate location.
"No one wants us in their neighborhood," Howell said. "Structurally, it's a good building, except for the two major issues: heating and air and security."
Additional items on the constructions priorities list include:
Functional space for private attorney/client meetings ($23,520)
Additional dry storage space in the kitchen ($11,760)
Replacing failing floor systems in detention areas ($70,556)
Adding capacity in the laundry room ($41,160)
Providing secure parking measures for judges ($29,400)
Courtyard landscaping ($17,640)
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