New Courthouse For Juvenile Affairs To Bring Needed Updates
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa County is now a major step closer to having a new courthouse for juvenile affairs.
Voters approved the money to build the courthouse four years ago, but it's taken the years since to find a spot for it and get started.
Tulsa County's new Juvenile Justice Center will spring up just south of the jail downtown.
But it will be anything but a quick resolution to a long-term problem.
Tulsa County's Juvenile Bureau now works out of a cramped building that opened in 1969.
Some of the staff works out of trailers to relieve overcrowding.
They'll move into a much larger building, with 61 beds for children in custody, 6 courtrooms, and space for attorneys and prosecutors to work.
“They'll be able to communicate with clients outside of the hallway,” said Doris Fransein.
Fransein is the Chief Judge for the juvenile division, which handles cases where children can be victims or stand accused of crimes.
“These are children and these are some really good families in stress. These are families openly coming to us for help,” said Fransein.
The site is the former Storey Wrecker impoundment yard on a full city block just south of the jail.
But it's the nearby courthouse that matters most since cases often require visits to both places.
“The parents can come there, the kids come there, it's all in one place, and it's convenient to anyplace. If they have to go the courthouse it's right up the street and that aspect alone is exciting," said Family Center for Juvenile Justice CFO Rosemary Brown.
The groundbreaking marks the beginning of 18 months of construction that will cap 15 years of work towards expanding and improving Tulsa's center for juvenile courts.
Because the new site was an industrial site for the last 100 years, they're taking special precautions in building here and there's enough room for eventual expansion if it's ever needed.