Metropolitan News-Enterprise

 

Friday, January 11, 2002

 

Page 3

 

County Has Money to Fix Mental Health Courthouse, Janssen Says

 

By a MetNews Staff Writer

 

The county has enough money to alleviate cramped and unsafe conditions at the Los Angeles Superior Courtís Mental Health courthouse and can begin work on the project in the current fiscal year, county Chief Administrative Officer David E. Janssen has told the Board of Supervisors.

In response to a Dec. 11 request from the board, Janssenís office searched for and found funding available in the Criminal Justice Facilities Temporary Construction Fund. Money under a federal bill, S 1865, may be used only for mental health programs and not for facilities, Janssen said.

ďPriority repairs,Ē including replacing a leaking roof and overhauling the air, heating and electrical systems, will cost $2.5 million, according to Janssenís office.

The Superior Court operates the Mental Health Court but the building is owned and operated by the county.

Court officials have asked for the last two years that the buildings be replaced, court spokesman Kyle Christopherson said, or at least that the county intends to make repairs.

The structure, at 1150 San Fernando Road, actually consists of three different buildings that have been joined.

The court has become so overcrowded that even repairs to less crucial areas, such as the patio and its benches, have become necessary since the area is used to accommodate overflow from the waiting rooms.

The benches have been deemed unsafe and the patio becomes flooded during rainy weather.

Lighting, plumbing, and restroom facilities also need replacement, according to a county report.

In his memo to the Board of Supervisors, Janssen said he will consider moving prosecutors, deputy public defenders and mental health staff into leased space.

A request for board permission to proceed was not placed on the Tuesday agenda but is expected to move forward in the coming weeks.

 

Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company