NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - County leaders celebrated Tuesday, the construction of the Juvenile Justice Building in downtown Wilmington with a beam signing ceremony.
Wilmington City Council gave the green light in May 2019 to allow New Hanover County to redevelop the facility into a building more than twice its original size.
The decision stemmed from the "Raise the Age" law that went into effect Dec. 1, 2019. Now, anyone up to the age of 18 will be prosecuted as a juvenile instead of an adult, with the exception of violent felonies and traffic violations.
Under the law change, New Hanover County and counties across the state expect to see a rise in juvenile cases, and will need more space for both court proceedings and in juvenile detention centers.
Once construction is complete, the facility will be three stories and expand to 38,875 square feet. It will house court and support functions related to the juvenile court system.
The facility is expected to be complete with staff moved in by Feb. 2021.