Building Commission approves projects, grant funds for youth prison alternatives

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- The state’s Building Commission approved $348.1 million in projects across the state, including grand funds for Secure Residential Care Centers for Children and Youth (SRCCCY).

SRCCCY locations would accept youth relocated upon the closure of Lincoln Hills and Copper Lakes Schools, the two state youth prisons.

Governor Tony Evers, who chairs the commission, announced the funding approval on Thursday.

“Today’s Building Commission action on the Secure Residential Care Centers for Children and Youth moves us one step closer to sustainable youth justice reform in our state,” said Gov. Evers.

According to the Department of Corrections, Brown, Dane, Milwaukee, and Racine Counties have applied for the grants.

In Dane County, their application states they will use the funds to expand the current Juvenile Detention facility to “co-locate with a SRCC that would contain 18-23 beds for males and 5-6 beds for girls placed under correctional orders.”

The grant would also allow Dane County to reconstruct a portion of the floor currently occupied by other departments in the City County Building. The budget has a preliminary estimate $6.5 million

Officials state in the application state as of June 3 the county had 13 males at Lincoln Hills and three females at Copper Lake. Five males were under correctional supervision in the community and one male was at Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center.

“These facilities will enable youth to receive trauma-informed, evidence-based resources, while bringing the youth at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake Schools closer to home,” said Gov. Evers.

In addition to the grant funds for alternatives to the youth prisons, the commission approved the following projects:

  • Construction of Drinking Water System Improvements at Fox Lake Correctional Institution;
  • Release of Building Trust Funds to complete the design through bidding documents for the Mendota Mental Health Juvenile Treatment Center;
  • Grant release for 19 Department of Natural Resources Friends Group projects;
  • Construction of the Fieldhouse and Soccer Support Facility at UW-La Crosse;
  • Funding increase to complete the Babcock Hall Dairy Plant / Center for Dairy Research Addition and the Meat Science and Muscle Biology Laboratory projects at UW-Madison;
  • Construction of the Sellery Hall Addition and Renovation at UW-Madison;
  • Construction of the Northwest Quadrant Student Health Services Remodel and Northwest Quadrant Renovation Phase 2 at UW-Milwaukee;
  • Final release of funding for the 2017-19 Classroom Renovation/Instructional Technology
  • Various maintenance and repair projects located in 11 counties across the state for the Department of Administration, Corrections, Health Services, Veterans Affairs, and the UW-System.

Members of the Building Commission include State Sen. Janis Ringhand, State Sen. Jerry Petrowski, State Sen. Patrick Testin, State Rep. Jill Billings, State Rep. Rob Swearingen, State Rep. Mark Born, and Summer Strand.