After opening a new Children’s Justice Center in Logan in July, staffers are still utilizing old facilities to conduct interviews due to difficulties with the new building.
“We have some issues with the building that we are working with Malouf (one of the facility’s donors) to solve,” said CJC director Terryl Warner, confirming some of the issues with the building involved basement leakage and problems with recording interviews. “And that just comes with opening a new building.”
Cache County Attorney John Luthy told The Herald Journal on Thursday that airflow noise from the building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is affecting the CJC’s ability to effectively record interviews at the new building. In one of the building’s designated interview rooms, Luthy said the microphones used to record a child’s disclosure of abuse are sensitive enough to pick up the sound of HVAC airflow, which negatively impacts the quality of the recordings.
Luthy said the building’s HVAC needed to be “balanced” since there may not be the returns necessary to handle the air flowing into the building.
“In the meantime,” Luthy said, “we are using the old CJC building, which is also a comfortable space and has been used for years effectively.”
While interviews are being conducted elsewhere, Warner said the CJC staff is still working primarily out of the new space.
Luthy said there has not been an issue with child disclosures being inappropriately overheard, but the potential of such a problem, especially in the aforementioned interview room, is being addressed.
“I don’t know that it’s only an HVAC issue,” Luthy said, “but doing some things with floor coverings and that sort of thing can also help with keeping those recordings clean and keeping the space confidential.”
In addition to the issues with HVAC and recording, Luthy and Warner said recent heavy rain storms in August revealed leakage around a basement door. Luthy said basement water was not severe enough to be considered flooding, nor did it cause any substantial damage.
“I’d characterize it as a leak,” Luthy said. “Nobody was wading in anything.”
Warner explained sections of the rain gutters were removed to install siding on the building, which contributed to the level of leakage around the door.
“It caused some problems down there, but I think it was because the new rain gutters weren’t up,” Warner said. “In the middle of a drought we didn’t expect a big storm.”
It’s uncertain how the issue with the recordings was discovered. Luthy said he was notified of the issue as he was transferring into the county attorney position; he was selected for the role by the Cache County Council on Aug. 10. Warner didn’t immediately return a request for a follow-up comment.
An open house and ribbon cutting was held for the new CJC location on June 29; The building was officially opened on July 14.
Luthy said since the opening there have been a number of “punch list items” to be addressed, and chief deputy attorney Tony Baird had been assigned to work with the CJC and enumerate those items. Though time frames and the costs are currently unknown, Luthy said the price of fixing the issues would not be covered by taxpayer dollars but rather private donations from the Malouf Foundation.
According to the CJC’s website, the building was initially purchased with CARES Act money and Malouf Companies assisted in the providing the necessary modifications to the space.
For Luthy, the whole point of the facility is to provide a comfortable space for victims and families which overshadows any disappointment.
“I’m very optimistic and pleased that we have this facility and they’re close to being able to use it fully,” Luthy said. “I know of the value of having a Children’s Justice Center, and the immediate and long term impacts of trauma on children, and we’re thrilled to have this new facility.”