TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Pima County workers and contractors have begun work on the former juvenile detention center on Ajo Way to house migrants seeking asylum in the United States.
The county board voted 3-2 last week to convert three wings, which have not housed juveniles since 2009, into space to house the migrants following the Aug. 6 closure of the Benedictine Monastery on Country Club.
The monastery has housed more than 10,000 asylum seekers passing through Tucson since January. It’s being closed because it’s being redeveloped.
The county received some criticism for the decision because the detention center still houses some juvenile offenders and because of the optics.
Catholic Community Services, which asked for the facility, has been searching for an alternative to the monastery since April. After touring 24 sites, the former juvenile detention center was deemed the best alternative.
It says it will go to great lengths to made the facility as welcoming as possible.
Already carpeting and artwork have been added. Tucson Clean and Beautiful is being asked to turn a recreation area into a garden.
Workers are also turning some rooms into medical screening areas.
According to the Pima County Facilities Manager, Lisa Josker, it will be ready on time to accept migrants on August 6.