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The Placer County Board of Supervisors hosted a ground-breaking ceremony Monday, Oct. 16 to celebrate the start of construction on a new Children’s Emergency Shelter in Auburn.

The ceremony took place at the shelter’s 3.63-acre site in the Placer County Government Center, which is commonly known as the DeWittCenter.

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Dignitaries invited to attend included special guest Rep. John Doolittle, who has been instrumental in helping win federal funding for the project.

Construction is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2007. In July, the county contracted with Aberdeen Burris Contractors to build the new shelter.

It will replace the county’s existing Children’s Receiving Home which provides shelter for children who need to be away from home, because of issues such as alleged abuse or neglect. The aging facility is too small to accommodate the county’s current needs.

The shelter project will include:

  • An administration building with medical examination rooms, interview rooms and offices;
  • An emergency shelter with living space for up to 30 children, as well as dining and food-preparation facilities; and
  • Modular classrooms and a recreation area with a basketball court and play structure.

The medical examination rooms will allow the county to operate a health center that will provide medical care, screenings and thorough health assessments for children.

The new shelter also will have secure, monitored visitation areas for supervised, court-ordered contact between adults and children. Currently, children must be transported off-site to social-worker offices, because the Receiving Home doesn’t have space available for such visits.

The total projected cost for the shelter, administrative buildings and modular classrooms is almost $11.5 million. County funds committed to the project include $2.3 million for road and other infrastructure improvements.

Recently, the project got a potential boost when the House Appropriations Committee approved a federal appropriations bill that contains $800,000 for the new shelter. The $800,000 would bring the federal government’s contribution to $3.25 million.

A future phase of the shelter project will provide permanent classrooms and a multipurpose building.

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