Northern Arapaho Community Assessment Center for Youth
Master Plan & Concept Design
Size: 5,218 gsf
Use: Youth Intake & Assessment Facility & Cultural Community Center
Client: Northern Arapahoe Tribe Wind River Reservation, Wyoming
Services provided in this project include:
- Operational and Architectural programming
- Conceptual/Schematic design
- Site Master Plan
After many years of planning, the Northern Arapaho Tribe is moving forward with efforts to develop its Prevention Through Intervention Center, a multipurpose treatment campus serving youth and families in the community. Many tribal youth now receive custodial services off the reservation, and PTI is seen as the best hope for creating therapeutic residential and community programs that prevent youth from spending unconstructive time away from home and families.
The first phase of construction, funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, will be a Community Assessment Center where youth are brought by law enforcement immediately after contact. Intake services provided at the Assessment Center will seek to identify problems, the need for court action and/or community services, the most appropriate resources, and as a last resort, the need for residential custody. Families will be engaged to encourage their involvement throughout the court or diversion process. In the words of staff:
"It is a wellness, not an incarceration, approach emphasizing that timely intervention and services is prevention from a life of jails, institutions and even death."
The proposed facility will feature a calm, reassuring environment filled with the natural lighting and familiar materials so essential to positive intervention. Initial intake areas are closely connected to open living/activity space and an outdoor patio that may be used if youth remain at the facility for more than a few hours while appropriate resources are sought. A few sleeping rooms accommodate youth who remain overnight. A variety of private interview and conference rooms permit meetings between youth, staff, and families.
To ensure that youth needs and community interests are met, the new facility will also feature a Cultural Center that may be used for large group meetings and ceremonial occasions. Special programs for youth at intake and in the community will be arranged to reinforce tribal culture and traditions and to support expanded educational opportunities. A small kitchen located in youth service areas serves both the intake program and special events at the Cultural Center.
JSG assisted the Northern Arapaho in realizing this community goal by providing assistance during the early planning phases and by completing a building program and conceptual building and site design that now guides ongoing development.