Juvenile Justice Center nears completion

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 17, 2001

Two years after breaking ground, construction is winding down on the Adams County Juvenile Justice Center on State Street.

&uot;We attended a job site meeting yesterday where, if I remember correctly, … they anticipate having all the systems of the building ready for testing by the middle of September,&uot; said Amelia Salmon, project architect.

These include testing the security electronics of the building for the center’s detention area and the building’s mechanical and electrical systems, Salmon said.

Email newsletter signup

Workers are also completing other final phases of the project such as painting, cabinetwork, landscaping, asphalt for the parking lot and general construction.

&uot;There’s still some work on the third floor. They were installing a wall yesterday,&uot; Salmon said.

She said it is normal for these final phases to take time even when the exterior of a building looks completed.

&uot;It’s just this is a very time-consuming period when it looks like it’s almost finished,&uot; she said. &uot;You think you’re there, but you’re really not.&uot;

Harold West Contractors of Laurel began construction in August 1999, and planned to complete the building in 14 months. Now, about a year behind schedule, it looks like the end may be in sight.

&uot;It shaped up nicely,&uot; Salmon said. &uot;It’s a good-neighbor building.&uot;

Once completed, the building will house the offices and courtroom space for the Adams County Youth Court and related activities.

It will include detention space for juveniles on its basement level.

County officials have not decided who will operate the detention portion of the center and do not know when they will do so.

&uot;I’m hoping it’s real soon,&uot; said John Hudson.

The Adams County youth court judge received approval from the Natchez Board of Aldermen for Natchez Police Chief Willie Huff to act as administrator of the detention center.

He also received a proposal from the members of a Pascagoula-based corrections company that would like to operate the center. But officials had to have some idea as to the center’s operational costs because the Adams County Board of Supervisors is currently preparing its budget for the upcoming year.

&uot;We had to submit budgets based on different contingencies,&uot; Hudson said.

The submitted budgets ranged from $240,000 to $280,000 annually depending on the decisions made about the center’s operation, Hudson said.