Weber Valley Multi-Use Youth Center Features Softer Design for Juveniles

OGDEN, Utah — The Weber Valley Multi-Use Youth Center in Ogden is more than halfway complete since its construction start on Dec. 19, 2016. The new facility is intended to replace the 1960s-era youth detention facility in Roy, Utah, which has been in service since 1965. The new facility is projected for completion by March 3, 2018. A ceremonial groundbreaking took place on April 27, 2016 before actual construction began.

The Weber Valley Multi-Use Youth Center in Ogden, Utah is more than halfway complete since its construction start on Dec. 19, 2016.

JRCA of Salt Lake City is the architect on the project, with Layton Construction in Sandy, Utah serving as the general contractor. The 66,000-square-foot facility has a budget of $20 million. The Weber Valley Multi-Use Youth Center is a mile away from the Mill Creek Juvenile Detention Center in Ogden, a more traditional youth detention center with a “harder” feel for repeat offenders, according to Matthew Noyce, senior project manager at Layton Construction.

The goal of the new detention center is to create a “gentler, softer” detention center, designed to reduce recidivism and better assist kids with programs and education, according to Noyce. “This facility is intended to serve kids who may be first-time offenders, with the hopes of interrupting what can often be a long-term cycle,” said Noyce.

The idea behind the design was to try to minimize the feeling of a prison system and to maximize the feeling of a “bedroom” setting, attached to a living space, according to Noyce. The facility consists of a metal frame building with “some” CMU structure, sheetrock, and uses light gauge materials for the roof — as opposed to the standard CMU concrete slabs and a hard-structured roof often found in detention facilities, according to Jeff Beckstrom, superintendent at Layton Construction.

“The more common detention center has that feeling of ‘I wouldn’t want to be here.’ This facility has a great environment, with the components of a secure facility, but with a softer look and feel,” Beckstrom said.

The new co-ed facility has 63 juvenile beds within the detention and transition/flex areas as well as an intake area and holding cells. There is a gymnasium with rubber floors and an exercise area for juveniles in the facility. Staff areas include offices with individual and open cubicle areas as well as a locker room, training room, wellness area and a staff medical unit. There are five landscaped outdoor courtyards and recreation areas for youth and staff with secure fencing as well as six classrooms and support spaces. Additionally, there are counseling offices to benefit the facility’s juvenile residents.

The new facility is intended to replace the 1960s-era youth detention facility in Roy, Utah, which has been in service since 1965.
Photo Credit (all): Layton Construction

Three separate pods that house the juvenile sleeping rooms are located on the exterior of the main part of the facility that consists of staff, training and offices, and classrooms. Two of the pods are considered high security, with the third pod serving as a lower-security flex/transition pod, where juveniles can come and go as needed, returning to their homes when and if desired, and depending on their needs.

“The facility is overall designed to create more of a home feel to help these kids feel less impacted by the system and hopefully be able to return to regular life at their homes after their time here,” said Noyce.

In an effort to create this effect, 90 percent of facility floors are covered in carpeting, which is extremely unusual for this type of facility, according to Beckstrom. A palette of bright colors will be used to create a more cheerful atmosphere. Additionally, a terrazzo floor has been installed that connects the outside of the facility to the inside with a picture of the surrounding area of the Weber River in liquid applied flooring. Five colors were chosen to contribute to the aesthetically pleasing design of the facility.

Rachel Leber

Rachel Leber is a freelance writer at Emlen Media. She can be reached directly at rachel@emlenmedia.com.

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