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New juvenile justice center weighs COVID-19 construction additions

Published: Aug. 27, 2020 at 3:46 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The COVID-19 pandemic could add extra dollars to the cost of the $119 million juvenile justice center.

The project manager brought recommended changes to combat the spread of the virus inside the new downtown center to officials looking over the project.

Right now, officials don’t know how much the suggested COVID related changes could cost.

Work is already underway at the old MUD building where the new juvenile justice center will stand. Project managers have suggested that the center be expanded to add another floor for more social distancing. As well as upgrade technology installing more touchless options to open doors, turn on lights, or turn on faucets.

“When this project was originally designed it had a budget of 119 million... it was designed in a way to meet the current code and the current requirements but since we’ve had these changes these are things we’ve got to take a look at as a community because we would be negligent if we did not bring these things up. Chances are we don’t know how long this is going to last if there are going to be another one behind it,” said George Achola, attorney for the project manager.

One decision that will have to be made soon, whether to replace the current heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit in the MUD building. The justice center development corporation that’s overseeing the project says that it will be a public discussion.

Officials will discuss the possibility of all the changes when the project managers come back with a price tag.

Officials do estimate the cost for a new HVAC system alone will cost an additional $3.5 million.

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