Juvenile Justice department ready for second expansion

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Patrons of the Carson City's Juvenile Justice department soon will have extra space to wait in before court.

Construction is expected to start within a month on a 1,400-square-foot, $255,000 expansion adding a secure lobby, conference room and restrooms to the department.

"We have a lobby adjacent to the court room with victims, witnesses and lawyers all cramped together," said Sheila Banister, chief juvenile probation officer. "This is a big thing. It's going to provide (extra) court security. We're going to have a secure, outer lobby that will be controlled and a conference room that will allow for prosecutors and defense attorneys to meet while waiting."

Two handicap restrooms are also being added, and a new office for Detention Officer John Simms will allow an extra person to monitor youth in the detention area. Banister said she had hoped to do more remodeling of the existing building, but limited funds will allow for only some of the building to be recarpeted She said she hopes to find funds in the budget to finish the carpeting.

The expansion project was almost $24,000 over its budget, but Carson supervisors Thursday approved extra funds for the expansion from the city's capital improvement programs. City leaders decided last year to use a construction management process like the one being used for the senior center expansion. However, City Engineer Larry Werner said city officials decided to pursue a traditional bid for the project.

"Hindsight tells us we should have done it the other way because we could have saved the dollars," Werner said.

In December 2000 the juvenile probation officers moved out of a converted garage into a $600,000, 4,200-square-foot building named for former chief probation officer Bill Lewis. The lobby expansion is the final one for the program for now, Banister said.


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