A consulting team led by Dewberry, one of the nation's largest architectural/engineering firms specializing in corrections and criminal justice facilities, has been selected by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (MDPSCS) to design the new Baltimore Youth Detention Center in downtown Baltimore, Maryland. The $80-million facility will accommodate youths who have been criminally charged as adults, and will enable the state to increase its educational, counseling, and healthcare services for youth offenders.

The five-story, 200,000-square-foot building will feature 180 beds in single-occupancy rooms. The facility will include six housing units; each unit will have activity space, a multi-purpose room, a counseling room, and an officer's station. The building will also include a gymnasium and community space, and will accommodate a host of activities and services including education and training, medical care, recreation, food service, administrative support, and video and contact visitation. The building will also feature a separate booking and intake center.

"The center will allow the state to enhance its program for youth offenders through appropriate spaces for education, counseling, and housing," says Jim Beight, AIA, PSA-Dewberry's director of design. "The site is challenging, and will require careful strategizing for public access and inmate transport." Beight notes the new center will be designed to LEED® Silver certification standards.

An additional challenge will be to link the building to the new women's detention center, for which PSA-Dewberry also recently began design. "The youth detention center represents the first phase of the state's seven-phase master plan that will ultimately reconstruct the entire downtown correctional campus," said Ron Budzinski, FAIA, the project's principal and practice segment leader for Criminal Justice Architecture at PSA-Dewberry. PSA-Dewberry, which is under contract for the first two phases—the youth detention center and the women's detention center—led the development of the master plan, working closely with MDPSCS. The state anticipates that implementation, once approved and funded, could take two decades to complete.

Additional project team members include joint venture architect Penza Bailey Architects, Carter Goble Lee for programming, WFT Engineering for mechanical engineering, EBA Engineering for civil engineering, Sidhu Associates for electrical engineering and technology, R&R Design for food service design, and Hope Furrer Associates for structural engineering. The project is anticipated to be open by the spring of 2012.