State considers $25M replacement for Woodside

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) The state is considering a $25 million replacement for the Woodside Juvenile Rehabilitation Center.

Vermont Department for Children and Families Commissioner Ken Schatz says the state needs a secure place for violent youths. But Woodside is now operating without federal funding because they view it as a detention center.

Schatz says he hopes lawmakers will provide funds to begin planning a replacement building at the current site.

House Corrections and Institutions Committee Chairwoman Alice Emmons says the building is dated and does not allow for the proper treatment needed. She says other policy committees in the Legislature will help determine how the state moves forward.

"They really need to be in a safe environment and some of that needs to be in a secure environment, and do we do that by providing that within a state-run facility or do we do out of state placements," said Rep. Alice Emmons, D-Springfield.

"I do believe we need a new building," Schatz said. "The existing building is really more built for a correctional type model. We really believe in the treatment model. Kids really deserve a setting that works for them."

Emmons says the state is at least two-and-a-half years away from beginning construction if funding is approved this year.