St. John juvenile probation offices approved for expansion, renovation

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 11, 2009



EDGARD – The St. John Parish Council voted Tuesday to move forward with the bidding process for expansion and renovation work at the parish’s juvenile probation offices.

St. John Chief Administrative Officer Pat McTopy explained to council members at a finance committee meeting in Edgard that the renovation project includes installing new sewer links, an expanded parking area and new meeting rooms. He said estimated costs for the project stand at about $325,000.

St. John Public Information Officer Buddy Boe said the building, which currently houses juvenile probation officers and judge chambers, has not been upgraded since it was constructed in 1975. He said the parish had been working throughout the past year to get work going.

Boe said state legislators passed a bill this summer to help finance the project. He said the bill allows parish officials to use money from a 1-mill property tax that is normally used to fund housing for juvenile offenders.

“The tax has produced a $750,000 surplus that we can pull from to fund the improvements,” Boe said. “If the initial estimate holds true, there will still be a substantial amount left in surplus.”

The parish typically spends about $150,000 to $200,000 housing juvenile offenders in detention centers. Most offenders are sent to the St. James Parish Juvenile Detention Center.