By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer
BATAVIA TOWNSHIP - Clermont County officials will break ground Wednesday on the county's $6 million juvenile detention center, with 22,800 square feet of space and beds for 36 youths.
The center will replace a 5,200-square-foot jail built in 1983 that is holding 18 youths.
Doug Brothers, director of the Clermont County Juvenile Court, said three beds in the new center will be used by Brown County, which has no juvenile jail and has been sending youth offenders primarily to Lawrence and Greene counties.
Clermont officials hope the new jail, which can be expanded to 99 beds, will be big enough to last 20 years.
"Detention centers are unfortunately like ball fields in Iowa," said Brothers. "If you build them, they will come."
In the meantime, much of the space inside the new center will be used to provide treatment programs to curb delinquent behavior.
"The county's new juvenile detention center will provide the county's residents with enhanced public safety and the court with a greater opportunity to provide long-range options for troubled youth," said Clermont Juvenile Judge Stephanie Wyler.
About $2.2 million of the construction cost is being paid with a grant from the Ohio Department of Youth Services. County capital funds will cover the rest.
Brothers said the best feature of the new building would be the larger amount of space.
"The old one was just a holding facility. With this one we'll be able to provide more treatment," he said.
"This facility is a tool that will provide us an option to do a better job with these kids locally and keep them here, rather than having to send them out of state at a much greater expense to the county."
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