Cleveland County broke ground January 31st on a $12 million renovation and addition project for the Alan J. Couch Juvenile Detention Center. The investment will result in 12,500 square feet of detention and primary educational space.
Funded primarily by public safety sales tax money approved by county voters, the project will add educational and program space and improve general detention facilities to enhance safety for detainees and staff.
“Today, we took the first step in fulfilling our promise to the people we serve and to those who will live and work in this facility,” said County Commissioner Harold Haralson. “In November 2019, county voters approved an eighth-cent public safety sales tax which included money to update this facility. That measure passed with an overwhelming margin, and we appreciate the voters support of that vision.”
The 26-bed facility will have two more beds with the addition of two ADA compliant rooms. Additionally, two mental health safe spaces will be added to accommodate detainees experiencing a mental health crisis.
“Space for education, mental health, substance abuse and other programming is key if we want these youth to turn their lives around. This state-of-the-art facility will allow educators from Norman Public Schools, the dedicated detention officers and our judicial services to come together and provide opportunities and solutions for these young lives,” said County Commissioner Darry Stacy. “We appreciate the people of Cleveland County who supported this vision with their tax dollars.”
GE Johnson Construction Company coordinated with county leadership and detention center staff from Community Works on the project. The Alan J. Couch Juvenile Detention Center, also known as the Cleveland County Regional Juvenile Detention Center, has not had significant renovations since it was built in 1991.
“In honoring the will of the people and the citizens of Cleveland County who will be served by the new juvenile justice space, we are also honoring the legacy of Judge Couch, for whom the facility is named,” said County Commissioner Rod Cleveland. “I want to thank our Cleveland County judges who are carrying on the tradition of juvenile justice and for supporting us with this forward-looking vision. I think Judge Couch would be pleased.”