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Shuman Juvenile Detention Center expected to reopen in 2 to 3 weeks, leaders say

Shuman Juvenile Detention Center set to reopen soon
Shuman Juvenile Detention Center set to reopen soon 03:16

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — After being closed for nearly three years, the Shuman Juvenile Detention Center is finally set to reopen.

For the past three years, there has been no place to detain juvenile offenders accused of the most serious crimes involving guns and violence. Judges have had no choice but to release them, sparking cries to reopen the Shuman Juvenile Detention Center for the safety of the community and the juveniles themselves. 

"Open this detention center, keep our community safe and keep the juveniles safe," District Judge Eugene Ricciardi said. "If a juvenile is carrying a gun, something is wrong with that picture."

Hearing that call, the court system undertook extensive renovations and awarded a five-year, $72 million contract to the firm Adelphoi to operate Shuman. And despite a court challenge by members of the Allegheny County Council, CEO Nancy Kukovich says Adelphoi is ready to open the facility. 

"We have a contract and we have requirements to do what we said we're going to do, which is open Shuman," Adelphoi CEO Nancy Kukovich said. "All of our staff is on-site at Shuman. They've been trained here at Adelphoi for the last several months. So, they are all ready to go."

Shuman will open in stages. The first will be a pod of 12 detention beds with 30 staff members. Other pods will open over the next two years.  

Kukovich said the state issued Adelphoi a certificate of occupancy last week and will approve an operating license once construction workers have completed the final items on a punch list. 

County spokeswoman Abigail Gardner confirmed that those final construction and licensing matters are being addressed, and both Adelphoi and Allegheny Country expect Shuman to reopen within two or three weeks. 

This is despite the ongoing suit by the Allegheny County Council challenging whether the former county executive needed its approval to lease the building to Adelphoi. Sources told KDKA-TV that councilmembers are ready to settle that suit, removing any impediment to Shuman's reopening. 

"I'm not expecting that anything is going to hold us up any further," Kukovich said. 

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