Construction Begins on Next-Gen Campus for Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs

Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs recently broke ground on the initial phase of a large project to build a state-of-the art therapeutic campus for young people who require secure-care treatment. DLR Group is the architectural designer, master , and criteria AE1 consultant for this next-generation campus. The new facility will be built on the grounds of the Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center where existing and new buildings will propel the new campus vision forward with cottage-style housing.

Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs Tecumseh Oklahoma DLR GroupOklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs in Tecumseh, Oklahoma by DLR Group. Rendering by DLR Group. 

Governor Mary Fallin, along with officials of OJA, participated in the groundbreaking ceremonies on October 10, 2018. DLR Group assisted the governor with a virtual reality walk-through of the new housing. The visualization represented the new direction the existing facility will take in the near future, and allowed the governor, OJA board, staff, and other state agency representatives to experience the final design in three dimensions.

“We’re honored to work with an agency like OJA who has a vision for truly making a difference in the lives of youth through rehabilitation and education,” says DLR Group Principal Tim Gibson.  “This is the kind of project that allows us to design spaces that offer hope to individuals who may otherwise not have the opportunities for real change in their lives.”

Plans are to build up to nine cottages that will provide new living quarters for up to 144 residents. OJA and DLR Group have planned the project so that it will be flexible while the campus is occupied during construction, as well as accommodate advancements in Oklahoma’s therapeutic programs and lowered length of stay. “The new campus will provide a much more therapeutic environment,” OJA Executive Director Steven Buck says.

Girls from an 18-bed Norman, Oklahoma center were transferred to the Tecumseh, Oklahama campus in August. Boys in the 60-bed Southwest Oklahoma Juvenile Center in Manitou will eventually be transferred to the Tecumseh campus at project completion.

“By having this one centralized facility, OJA will address technology inefficiencies, improve medical and treatment services, provide equitable education for all youth placed in secure facilities, and save money in transportation and travel,” says Fallin.

The new design is also about providing a better and healthier place for staff to work and improve operations. “The new campus will also provide safety for our employees, all while being fiscally creative and responsive to the taxpayers. This new facility will create efficiencies and cost savings,” Buck adds.

Final work is scheduled to be completed around the end of 2020.