On March 9, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, city officials and community leaders broke ground on the 28-bed expansion of the Youth Study Center (YSC) at 1100 Milton Street. The $14.8 million, 22,000-square foot expansion will allow for increased services to accommodate juvenile offenders being housed at the Orleans Justice Center.
“Since 2010, we have been committed to investing in the lives our youth. I am excited to break ground on the 28-bed expansion of the Youth Study Center and increase opportunities for our juvenile offenders, ” said Mayor Landrieu. “It is not about where you start, but it is about where you finish. We believe in making necessary changes to ensure that all youth have access to pathways to prosperity.”
Expected to be completed January 2019, this YSC expansion will also include a new, secondary/waiting area with group and individual visitation areas; high-school education area with space for class room instruction, job training, arts, reading rooms and individuals instructions areas; a teachers’ lounge and common area; new outdoor circulation and recreation space; and food serving and seating area adjacent to the existing kitchen to expand existing food services. Along with these additions, the new structure will be designed to accommodate an additional floor in the future, if needed.
“The Youth Study Center is looking forward to this new expansion, YSC Director Germaine Simon says. “This will allow us to make a lasting impact on the lives of young people. We are confident that we will continue to provide the best possible services to the incoming youth and introduce them to a positive environment.”
Opened April 2014, the 48-bed, $31.6 million Youth Study Center serves as the City’s holding facility for pre-adjudicated youth and is designed to provide all staff, visitors and detained youth with a safe environment that prioritizes the particular needs of youth. The facility includes individual rooms for sleeping, new security system, access to classroom-based education, access to recreation and family visits, and access to quality medical care, including mental health and other wrap around services to put our justice-involved youth back on a pathway to prosperity.
Some neighbors are also excited about the expansion and what it means for juvenile justice in the city.
“The Juvenile Justice Complex was a wonderful opportunity for our community to embrace a single facility that provided wrap around services, and addressed every area of the needs of youth and families, says Rev. Lionel Davis of the Pilotland Neighborhood Association. “This holistic approach puts every help option in one site. It brought resources to the youth for better results. The one stop idea keeps our troubled young people out of otherwise adult facilities, and gives families an opportunity to be a part of their loved ones success story. This extension will connect reality to resources for positive results.”
Funding for the project comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recovery dollars and City bonds.