New Hanover County is preparing to tear down its existing Juvenile Justice Center in downtown Wilmington and replace it with a new structure more than twice its size.
The county contracted with Bordeaux Construction Company to work on a construction-manager-at-risk contract for the new 38,455 sq. ft. building. “The project is currently in the design and permitting phase, and is expected to be complete in early 2021,” county spokesperson Jessica Loeper told Port City Daily.
“In 2018, New Hanover County contracted with Bordeaux Construction Company to provide Construction Manager at Risk services for this new building. The project is currently in the design and permitting phase, and is expected to be complete in early 2021.”
The project’s budget hasn’t been finalized.
While the building is owned by the county, the City of Wilimington must give its approval for a requested special user permit for the .42 acre site at 138 North 4th St.
The reason for the change is that North Carolina will soon generally place 16 and 17 year olds under juvenile court jurisdiction, except for certain felonies and traffic crimes.
Currently, laws dictate that some teenagers — specifically 16 and 17-year-olds — are tried as adults for crimes. But, soon, that will change statewide. Currently, unlike most states, many teenagers these ages are tried and sentenced as adults.
“This change is expected to double the number of juveniles currently under the juvenile court jurisdiction which will impact the number of county and state employees needed to provide this service,” according to the request.
The county determined that the best way to accommodate the increased demands would be to tear down the existing structure and replace it with a three story building housing “court and support facilities related to the juvenile court system.”