Juvenile Detention Center Remodeling "replacing the greyhound with a greyhound"
"It wasnt so long ago that downtown St. Paul, especially the central core, widely was regarded as the death valley of development," reported Pioneer Press Columnist Larry Millett. (3/98) He stated that there are more than 15 major projects (public/private) that are "in the works."
Part of the "works," in 1998, is the expansion of the Juvenile Detention Center. On December 29, some of the Board members, including Janice, took their swings with sledge-hammers at the old Greyhound Bus Depot. There were no tears in any of the Commissioners eyes. They were taking down a blighted building and replacing it with an expansion that was long overdue. The new Greyhound Bus Depot is now on University Avenue between Rice St. and Western in a new, well-lighted building. The new Juvenile Center will include 60 new beds and a redesigned court facility. And the new facility would be architecturally a welcomed change to the St. Paul skyline.
On January 6, the County Property Manager and Wold Architects and Engineers presented drawings of the new expansion. For some unexplainable reason (the dynamics of the Board perhaps) what was to have been a standard presentation, a standard design and a government functional building, stopped when Commissioner Bennett interjected that "if you covered up the top stories of the building it looks a lot like we just rebuilt the Greyhound Depot?" Commissioner Rettman saw it as one of those sterile, mirror-like office buildings that are scheduled to be torn down. Others described it as a fenced fortress and without appropriate landscaping or lighting. It was back to the drawing board for the designers and the Property Manager.
On February 10, the Property Manager and Wold Architects returned with new drawings. These drawings brought the changes that the Board requested. As expressed in Wold's presentation:
For some reason (remember group dynamics?), the Boards direction had made a significant change at a minimal cost and had remained within the budget. The Property Manager reported that there was consensus with the Board, the Childrens Museum, the Interim Design Committee, the Capital City Partnership, and the Riverfront Development Corporation that the revised Ramsey County Juvenile Detention Center and Courts Expansion will be a welcomed neighbor to the revitalized downtown.
Janice had the Property Manager reaffirm the Center will be done with local labor and paying prevailing wages.
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