Cuyahoga County Juvenile Justice Center

For more than 30 years, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, had tried to replace its aging and undersized juvenile detention facility, which had earned the moniker “worst juvenile detention facility in the nation” from the National Juvenile Detention Association. With an increase in youth offenders to contend with as well, Cuyahoga County recognized the need to create a new detention, intervention center, and juvenile courts building.

The county called upon Heery to serve as owner’s representative throughout the comprehensive planning, programming, design, and construction phases of the Youth Detention Center and nine-story juvenile courts building.  To keep the project on schedule and avoid delays due to programmatic changes, Heery formulated and executed a phased delivery comprised of several design and contractor procurements. Heery drafted procurement documents to ensure fair and open competition followed by intensive due diligence investigation to ensure the “lowest and best bidder” received award.

Challenges included the critical task of assessing sites and determining funding and delivery options. Stiff resistance from local communities met the county wherever it looked, and in all, the county evaluated 17 potential properties. After completing design development the decision was made to acquire a 16-acre brownfield site in the Cleveland neighborhood of Fairfax. Heery provided an environmental analysis, which uncovered a variety of chemicals on the former factory and brewery site. Heery’s efforts in helping the county obtain remediation funding and managing site clean-up as the County’s CM not only enabled the county to create a healthy site, but also to win the OEPA Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund Award totaling $3.3 million. It was the Heery/County management team that coordinated all design and contractor groups to a successful project completion.

Key project components include:

  • Treatment-focused 180-bed Juvenile Detention Facility
  • Indoor and outdoor recreation spaces, education, intake, processing, medical, food service, maintenance, visitation, administration, and staff support space
  • An underground secure transport tunnel from the detention facility to upper floor courtrooms
  • 36 courtrooms with associated chambers and magistrate offices
  • Programing provides extensive opportunity to treat at-risk youth with a special emphasis on mental and medical services not readily available to this population
  • Received LEED Silver Certification despite not having a LEED design requirement
  • Total project cost came in several million dollars below the approved $189 million budget, despite numerous Owner additions not in the original program.



Program Management
Construction Management


Cleveland, OH


643,000 SF


OEPA (Ohio Environmental Protection Agency) 2002 Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund award recipient USEPA (U.S. EPA) 2002 Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund recipient U.S. Environmental Protection • Agency, 2002 Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund Recipient