Grant awarded for juvenile hall |

Grant awarded for juvenile hall

Gregory Crofton

California Board of Corrections last week awarded a $4,020,000 grant to El Dorado County for the construction of a juvenile hall at South Lake Tahoe.

Terms of the grant require construction of a hall to be complete by July 2005. El Dorado County now needs state and federal environmental agencies to approve a building site.

That process is expected to take at least a year. The county is submitting three building sites to be evaluated for environmental impact, all of which are a part of or near the Justice Center at Al Tahoe and Johnson Boulevards.

County officials got final approval for the grant Thursday in San Diego. El Dorado County was ranked third out of 11 projects recommended to get a share of $131.7 million available in state and federal money.

The price tag for a 40-bed juvenile hall at South Lake Tahoe is estimated at $9 million. It is expected be a 20, 000 to 23,000 square-foot building.

In February, El Dorado County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to pay for the rest of the project.

The money will come from the county’s general capital facilities construction account, which contains $6.3 million. Tom Soike, interim chief administrative officer of El Dorado County, said $4.1 million from that account is already set aside for a hall at South Lake Tahoe.

“The juvenile hall in South Lake Tahoe was the board’s first priority for capital construction projects,” Soike said. “It’s an amount that we will include in the proposed budget for 2002-03.”

El Dorado County owns a 2.2-acre plot of land at the corner of Al Tahoe and Johnson. Officials presented that piece of land to Board of Corrections as their primary building site, but they are in negotiations to buy or lease a 4-acre piece of land owned by Lake Tahoe Unified School District.

It is located next to the jail and would mean laundry, medical and food services that exist at the jail could be shared with a juvenile hall.

Tim McSorley, El Dorado County facilities manager, said a 1.6-acre parcel inside the Justice Center parking lot will also be evaluated as a possible site to build. Ultimately, he said, environmental groups will decide where the juvenile hall will be built.

A push to build a juvenile hall at South Shore has been in the works since 1999. The county has one 40-bed juvenile hall in Placerville that is perpetually overcrowded, often with youths transported from South Lake Tahoe.

A report released in January stated South Lake Tahoe police cite and release juveniles in 76 percent of their new arrest felony cases and 95 percent of new arrest misdemeanors. County officials presented the report to El Dorado County Board of Supervisors as evidence that a hall is needed at South Lake Tahoe.

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