McLean County Juvenile Center

McLean County Juvenile Center

Programming and Design

Client: McLean County Juvenile Probation Dept.
Cost: $7,200,000 construction cost
Area: 24,300 GSF
Size: 27 beds
Use: Juvenile Detention Facility

Michael McMillen, AIA
Currently JSG Justice Design Director

Following the enactment of jail removal legislation by the State of Illinois, McLean County authorities approved a new secure juvenile detention facility to serve as a regional resource for Central Illinois.  Juvenile services officials  specified that the facility should provide  small housing units to promote interaction between residents and staff and to facilitate improved classification.  A non-institutional environment encouraging positive intervention was considered a high priority. 

The design of this facility recognizes local concern that detained juveniles have access to full range of educational and recreational opportunities.  A large learning center is incorporated immediately adjacent to the central resident activity area to allow unhindered access at all times between these spaces.  In addition, generous space has been provided for both small scale and large muscle recreational pursuits, including a half-court gymnasium and easily managed outdoor play area defined by the building form on three sides.

All housing, multipurpose, education, and dining areas are arranged to be clearly visible from the central staff station.  Visual openness between all resident areas was a high priority to ensure ease of resident supervision and to encourage communication and support between staff.  Admission areas are also easily accessible from the central staff station, and medical services can be accessed directly either from the admission area or from the secure residential areas. 

An outdoor courtyard is located between the housing units and adjacent to the central multipurpose space to permit ample daylighting and continual connection to the outdoors.  Skylights and pitched ceilings in housing units further enhance the sense of spaciousness and help reduce perceptions of crowding.  All housing is directly viewed by a central staff station that also views admissions areas and all resident circulation.