State builds $6.65 million youth treatment center

Medicine and health

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Construction is underway on a modern, $6.65 million girls treatment facility at the Alabama Department of Youth Services’ Mt. Meigs campus, replacing a facility that was destroyed by a tornado two years ago.

An EF3 tornado destroyed the Chalkville girls campus in Jefferson County on Jan. 23, 2012, and the girls have been shifted to contracted private providers throughout the state.

That will change when the new, 24-bed, LEED-certified facility opens early next year. It will include a 16,000-square-foot dormitory building with indoor and outdoor recreation spaces, and a separate 11,000-square-foot administration and education building with offices, classrooms, a library and a severe weather “safe space.”

The state has set a completion date of Jan. 15, 2015.

“Although the project completion date is very aggressive, we are confident in our plan to meet it,” said Richard Lovelace, senior project manager for Bailey-Harris Construction. “The owner and architect are both working with us as a team to achieve this goal.”

In its 2012 annual report, DYS said no students or staff members suffered serious injuries in the tornado and praised the action of state workers and others for saving lives.

Insurance money from the Chalkville storm is paying for the new facility. After the storm, DYS estimated the receipt of about $7.5 million in insurance funds to rebuild and noted that the facility could be in a new location.

The state conducted a feasibility study to decide the best location for the project before settling on Mt. Meigs.

Bailey-Harris is based in Auburn but has handled River Region projects for the Montgomery County Commission, Montgomery City Schools, the Retirement System of Alabama and others.

“Our main office is in Auburn, but Montgomery is our second home,” President and CEO Allen Harris said in a statement. “We are pleased to be a part of the continued growth in this area.”

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Information from: Montgomery Advertiser

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