Al Price facility leased to charter school
At-risk students will be going to school in the former Al Price Juvenile Correctional Facility now that the County has agreed to lease the property to Evolution Academy Charter School.
Evolution Academy Charter School is a public high school for students grades 9-12, and will teach students on a daytime basis. No students will live in-house.
The school was founded in 2002 and currently has campuses in Beaumont, Houston and Richardson, and will now have a presence in the Mid-and South- County area.
County Judge Jeff Branick said the school has agreed to invest $500,000 in improvements to the building and take over the about $160,000 dues each year in utility, maintenance and upkeep costs.
“I think this is a good use of the building,” Branick said.
Charter school officials are currently working with Lamar Institute of Technology and other campuses to institute a work-study program that will provide employment opportunities for the at-risk youth.
Branick said though the students can attend from all parts of the state, most will be from the Golden Triangle.
In April, the county, which owns the vacated property, was contacted by the state Office of Violent Sex Offenders about using the facility to house 185 sex offenders from across the state.
At the time, the suggestion was met with strong opposition from the community, prompting the County to not move forward on the proposal.
Branick said he has not heard anything from the state in a month and a half.
The Al Price facility has been vacant since it closed in 2011 due to financial reductions in the Texas Youth Commission.
The facility housed 128 incarcerated youths and employed 268 people when the budget cuts forced the unit to close its doors. The State transferred the facility to Jefferson County in January 2014, at the county’s request.