About 100 people were on hand Thursday to celebrate completion of Placer County’s new state-of-the-art Children’s Emergency Shelter.
The celebration featured a grand-opening ceremony and tours of the spacious one-story facility. It includes a 12,620-square-foot shelter that can accommodate up to 30 children at a time, a 3,673-square-foot administrative center and 2,820 square feet for classrooms.
The new center is located on 3.6 acres at an undisclosed site in North Auburn. It will replace the county’s existing Children’s Receiving Home for children who have been abused or neglected. The existing facility is old and too small to accommodate the county’s growing needs.
“It is one of the tasks of government, particularly county government, to provide a safe and secure environment to help and protect those less fortunate- those who find themselves in difficult circumstances that are beyond their control, especially our children,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jim Holmes told the crowd at Wednesday’s ceremony. “The new Children’s Emergency Shelter will serve our county in that mission for many years to come.”
“Over 300 children a year will benefit from the facility and the compassionate care of county staff,” said Dr. Richard Burton, the county’s public health officer and director of the Health and Human Services Department. “During their stay, they will certainly know how treasured they are by this community and begin forming a vision of hope for future lives free from the cycles of abuse that have plagued many of their families for generations.”
The total project cost of $11.5 million included $2.45 million in federal funding. Rep. John Doolittle was a special guest at the ceremony because of his work to obtain federal funds for the shelter and other county projects.
“You’ve done a great job, John. Thank you,” Supervisor F.C. “Rocky” Rockholm told Doolittle.
Chief Assistant County Executive Officer Rich Colwell also thanked the congressman, telling the gathering, “Without his support, this project would not have come about, both financially and politically.”
Doolittle in turn saluted the county for its ongoing efforts to replace outdated buildings and to construct new buildings needed to accommodate population growth.
“There has been quite a transformation going on here over the last 10 to 15 years,” he said.
Placer County celebrated the opening of a 97,400-square-foot building that serves as headquarters for the Community Development Resource Agency in 2006 and last year opened the 98,750-square-foot Auburn Justice Center, a facility that houses the Sheriff’s Office, Probation Department and District Attorney’s Office. Both are at the Placer County Government Center in North Auburn, which was formerly known as the DeWitt Center.
Placer County is scheduled to complete work this summer on an 110,700-square-foot courthouse building at the new Bill Santucci Justice Center in Roseville and has started preliminary planning on the first phase of an adult detention facility to be constructed there.
The new Children’s Emergency Shelter features medical examination rooms that will allow the county to operate a health center providing medical care, screenings and thorough health assessments for children.
The new shelter also has secure, monitored visitation areas for supervised, court-ordered contact between adults and children. Currently, children must be transported off-site to social-worker offices, because the Receiving Home doesn’t have space available for such visits.
A future phase of the shelter project will provide permanent classrooms and a multipurpose building.
Several speakers emphasized the new state-of-the-art shelter will provide a caring and nurturing environment where at-risk children will receive a variety of medical, educational, training, life-skills and intervention services offered by the Children’s System of Care, a division of the Health and Human Services Department.
“Today marks an opportunity for us to take a big step forward,” said Richard Knecht, program director of the Children’s System of Care.
“This is just a wonderful day for Placer County,” added Undersheriff Devon Bell.
County Director of Facility Service Jim Durfee, the master of ceremonies, thanked many of the people and companies who worked on the new shelter, including Project Architect Hope Bostic of Facility Services, Design Partnership Architects and Planners, construction manager URS Corp. and contractor Aberdeen Burris Contractors.
Durfee also thanked the Board of Supervisors for its ongoing commitment to the county’s capital campaign, saying that seeing the Children’s Emergency Shelter completed is particularly gratifying.
“This is a very special facility,” he said. “This is about the kids. It’s about the future.”