DLR Group planning Santa Cruz County Justice and Detention Center

August 27, 2009 |

   Santa Cruz County Justice and Detention Center

The multifunctional project combines a new courthouse, adult detention, juvenile detention and sheriff’s offices - all in close proximity to each other. Serving all of Santa Cruz County in Arizona, the three-story project includes a new jail facility with separate areas for adults and juveniles, a sheriff’s office and a new courts and administration building with courts, offices and public service areas. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2010.

The overriding goal was to create a facility that developed a dignified court experience and created adult and juvenile facilities that were safe and secure for both client and staff.

Due to the limited budget, the team concentrated on maximizing the amount of program space for the county while maintaining the primary goal. Nine schemes were developed. Each focused on the re-use and re-distribution of space from the existing county administration/courts building. The selected concept builds a new five-courtroom courthouse adjacent to the existing administration building and the new adult and juvenile facility.

Design summary

With its prominent, hill-top, border community location in Nogales, Ariz., the design team developed a dignified design that tied the disparate components together through similar materials and massing. Site development that allowed the buildings to ‘climb’ with the existing topography was critical in developing the necessary adjacencies, creating a dynamic form and maintaining the budget. The stepping of the buildings also helped define clear entries to the multiple and dissimilar functions of the complex.

Sustainable strategies

Sustainable strategies involved incorporating ample daylight and using local, durable materials like EFIS, CMU, concrete and steel. The 15-acre site is used to its full potential as the building mass steps down the hill in concert with the facility’s three functions: juvenile detention, adult detention and services.

Unique Features

•       Due to the site restrictions, Juvenile and Adult Detention with the Sheriff's Offices were combined into one building, stepping down the hill, keeping the facility no more than two-stories in any given area.

•       Connectivity to the Courts facility sitting adjacent to the Detention Facility with a secure walkway for transporting inmates to and from court.

•       Designing a facility for multiple user groups: Juvenile Detention, Courts, Supreme Court Clerks, Justice of the Peace Clerks, Probation, Adult Detention, 911 Dispatch, Sheriff's Office.

DLR Group served as architect, in addition to providing mechanical, electrical and structural engineering. The project contractor is Core Construction. Construction is expected to be complete by March 2010.

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