Plans to expand existing Utah County Jail facilities could severely limit growth of Provo's overcrowded juvenile detention center.
"If they expand to the north, that would put us out of the picture," said Malcom Evans, assistant regional administrator of Region 3 state youth corrections. Evans suggested that the jail be relocated instead of expanded, and that a new juvenile center be included in the plans.Evans said expanding the jail to the north would force the center to relocate if it ever added any secure long-term beds. The existing facility, built in 1952, is only designed to house youths for short terms. Long-term detainees are usually sent to Cedar City. However, "the families are not a part of the recovery program that way," Evans said.
Evans met Monday with the Utah County Jail Advisory Committee to discuss their plans for updating jail facilities. The committee also listened to reports on possible relocation of an Alcohol Recovery Center and the possibility of creating a detoxification program in Utah County.
In an interview after the meeting, Evans said he would "throw into the mix" the existing detention facilities for "whatever the county wanted" if new facilities were built.
County Commissioner Richard Johnson said the recovery center has a 25-year lease on four buildings north of the Utah County Jail that began in 1973, with an option to renew the lease in 1995. "They are amenable," Johnson said. "They need the county's support and are willing to work with us on this."
Johnson projected the cost at $300,000 to $400,000 to replace the buildings if the county needs to remove them to expand the jail. "That would have to be added to the budget," Johnson said.
Utah County Commissioners expect to spend more than $15 million for the jail expansion and $19 million for a new "generic" facility designed by Edwards and Daniels Associates, a Salt Lake architectural firm, to be built on about 18 acres of land somewhere in Utah County.
Sheriff David R. Bateman said it was too early to decide on a site for a new facility, but County Engineer Clyde Naylor provided information to the committee on a site located in an industrial zoned area west of I-89. The property belongs to an owner from Iowa.
"It is in Provo City," Naylor said, but the ground he proposed was "out of the wetlands, it has good road access and more importantly, no neighbors."
Naylor said the closest buildings to the site were the county public works facilities. "The closest house is three-tenths of a mile from the public works," he said.
Provo Mayor Joe Jenkins said he was not opposed to the new facilities being located in Provo, and would like to see a consolidation of the detention center, county jail and detoxification center.
The consolidation would include shared emergency generators, food services and possibly court facilities.