Wyandotte County Juvenile Justice Center

The Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, KS
Architectural Design, Civil Engineering, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Planning, Programming
Kansas City, KS
Project type
New construction

Rehabilitating youth through therapeutic and flexible environments

Previously shared with a detention center that housed adults, Wyandotte County needed a new facility specifically for juvenile detention to consolidate services for both detained and non-detained youth and their families in one location. As the first phrase in a long-range master plan of the County’s justice facilities, the Juvenile Justice Center is a state-of-the-art three-story facility featuring flexible, normalized spaces that help shift the focus toward juvenile rehabilitation.

Safety and security with a welcoming aesthetic

The secure juvenile detention areas are organized around a central courtyard to allow access to the outdoors and daylight into the living and classroom areas. Flexible, normalized spaces provide a safe, secure, and therapeutic environment for youth. A two-story open lobby with terrazzo flooring and natural stone walls provides a welcoming public entry separate from the detention areas for family courts and other programs. Consolidating these programs into one building provides safe and secure access for youth, families, and staff.

Building access is managed via a centralized control room featuring video surveillance, which helps operations staff easily oversee the facility and activity happening within. Every door is equipped with secured electronic access controls that are monitored from the main control room. The intake and assessment area also houses a medical suite and enclosed sallyport for security.

Flexible, normalized spaces provide a safe, secure, and therapeutic environment for youth.

Site planning and landscape architecture

Located in downtown Kansas City, Kansas, with roadways on all sides, our team took advantage of its sloped site, with a building landscape that features terracing, green stormwater infrastructure designed to mimic nature and capture rainwater. The use of detention BMP areas and permeable paver driveways allow water to dissipate instead of using a storm sewer system.

And environment that understands the root causes of behavior

In addition to the sleep and day rooms, the center also incorporates classrooms, visitation rooms, a library, and a large gymnasium that opens into an outdoor courtyard. Bright colors and access to daylight and fresh air open up the spaces, reducing rigidity. Most youth in the criminal justice system have experienced some level of trauma in their lives, making a therapeutic environment and supportive programs highly beneficial for rehabilitation and reducing the likelihood of entering the adult judicial system.

Project contact

Andy Pitts


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