Brazos County Studies Juvenile Facility Expansion

BRYAN, Texas — Brazos County is considering an expansion that would more than double the size of its existing juvenile justice facility in Bryan. In response to a steadily growing local population and an anticipated need for more juvenile justice services, the county selected Treanor Architects’ Dallas office to complete a feasibility study that will examine different expansion options.

Currently, the Brazos County Juvenile Detention Center offers just 44 pre-adjudicated beds, not including four separate behavioral seclusion beds. While the facility has not yet reached or exceeded its 48-resident capacity, county officials anticipate requiring additional space within the next four to five years. During this period, the county’s juvenile population is projected to increase by up to 45 percent, building on a 10 percent overall population growth since 2011.

“We have gotten close to capacity here recently, and we knew the numbers were increasing,” County Judge Duane Peters told local news source The Eagle earlier this month. “We felt like it was time we needed to at least take a look and see what the needs are.”

The new and improved facility would potentially contain an additional 48 pre-adjudicated beds, bringing that capacity to 96, as well as 12 new security-housing beds. The design could also include 24 to 48 new post-adjudicated beds with six additional post-adjudicated security-housing beds. Boosting the population would also require the construction of new staff offices, resident programming spaces such as a multipurpose room, day rooms, educational spaces, storage, laundry, kitchen facilities, intake and holding areas, and medical and mental health facilities. Work would also be required on the existing administration building and parking lot, and either the incorporation or removal of two existing portables.

Treanor Architects has completed numerous justice and correctional projects, and will conduct a cost analysis for potential expansion of the center. That includes a thorough review and site analysis of the juvenile department grounds over the next four to six months in order to determine and recommend potential options for expansion. This will likely include a cost, design and construction analyses as well as determination regarding the potential for expandability.

Should the project be approved, the design process could begin as early as October 2016 with construction beginning as early as October 2017, according to the county’s original feasibility study RFP. However, funding for each of these steps is contingent on budgetary approval by the Brazos County Commissioners’ Court.

Doug Vance, executive director of the Brazos County Juvenile Services Department, told The Eagle that Treanor would also study the possible addition of a new rehabilitation facility. Brazos County currently sends approximately 50 juvenile offenders annually to nearby residential treatment centers at a cost of up to $1.5 million.