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Empty modular could be new home for day reporting center

Dec 2, 2012 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Fremont County may have found a building for its Juvenile Detention Alternatives and Report Center. Commissioners voted at their Nov. 20 meeting to express interest in buying a used modular office building from Fremont County School District 25.

County buildings maintenance supervisor JR Oakley said a day reporting center is a part of the plan for the new program designed to give juvenile offenders alternatives to incarceration.

"This would fit that purpose," he said about the modular building.

The school district is no longer using the modular as an office building and is seeking a buyer for it. Following statute, the school district had to first look for a government buyer.

"We don't have to design the center," chairman Doug Thompson said. "We just have to express interest, and later we can see if it meets the criteria."

County attorney Michelle Fontaine said youths who break the law will go to school at the day reporting center instead of getting expelled from their regular school. Fremont County school districts will all contribute to the salary of a new teacher for the center.

The day reporting center will be at the group homes in Lander and Riverton until the county finds a new building for the program. The program would have space for six students at each site while housed in the group home.

Oakley later added that the modular would have room for 15 students.

Commissioner Keja Whiteman said building size was not the only reason for the small classes in the program. She said children who will be in the program have special needs and are not successful in regular-sized classrooms.

"We may not get the best results if we fill it up," Whiteman said.

Notifying the school district that the county is interested in purchasing the building does not commit the county to buy it, Fontaine said.

Oakley said an official notification would allow him to speak with the school district about a sale price.

"It's a continuation of a program they're working with," he said. "They could give us a unit for just moving it."

If the county was definitely interested, Oakley added, he could also get more details about the cost of moving the building and would explore locations for it.