The New Beginnings Youth Development Center replaced an existing detention facility nearby. The center is based on the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services’ (DYRS) new model for juvenile justice, similar to the “Missouri Model” that posits facilities that provide individualized programming and “home-like” settings produce improved juvenile behavior.

The District of Columbia Office of Property Management retained AECOM as part of a joint venture to design-build the new 60-bed, state-of-the-art secure juvenile rehabilitation facility on behalf of DYRS.

The main campus building houses an admissions facility, a medical facility, the superintendent’s offices, a food service and dining area, a theater, a student commons, academic classrooms, vocational training spaces and DYRS administrative offices.

When designing New Beginnings, the team focused on creating a typical campus environment that is small, safe, local and youth-focused. This included creating smaller residential units and as much as possible, buildings were used to define the interior of the campus. Metal fencing, normally a consistent feature of compulsory residency, was minimized through the use of inwardly-curved barriers with non-climb fabric. Sustainable concepts were employed during project design, and New Beginnings achieved LEED Gold certification.