A project that includes the renovation of a correctional facility and construction of a restoration center and a new bus depot would cost roughly $183.4 million, according to County Executive Marc Elrich’s recently proposed five-year capital budget.

The three projects are all part of a reuse of the site off Seven Locks Road and Wootton Parkway at a roughly 40-acre site in Rockville, according to county budget documents.

Elrich’s proposed capital budget for 2023 to 2028 says the correctional facility renovation and construction of the restoration center would occur first, followed by the new bus depot. 

The estimated costs for the three projects are:

  • New bus depot: $86 million
  • Renovation of criminal justice center: $78.7 million
  • Restoration center: $18.7 million

Jennifer Bryant, director of the county’s Office of Budget and Management, said in a recent interview that the county believes the state will cover half of the costs for the criminal justice center and restoration center projects.

Chief Administrative Officer Rich Madaleno said that is the standard breakdown for projects like those two.

The third project, the bus depot, would have 200 to 250 buses, all of which could be electric, Bethesda Beat previously reported. It also would include a large maintenance facility.

“That is a massive enterprise,” Mary Beck, the county’s capital budget manager, said about the bus depot. “It’s parking for buses. It’s all of their future heavy [maintenance] work, as well as the more routine [work]: gas up, oil changes, stuff like that.”

A closer look

According to the proposed capital budget, the new criminal justice complex would be built at the county’s former District One Police station at the north end of the site, off Seven Locks Road. It would decrease the footprint of the current correctional facility at the site, in part to allow more room for the restoration center.

The facility currently on the property can hold up to 200 inmates and processes about 13,000 people annually, according to the county website.

It also provides “psychological screening, medical screening, and risk assessment” to determine how to classify inmates and provides “initial care, custody and security of inmates for up to 72 hours prior to their transfer to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility” in Boyds.

Rolando Santiago, the county’s chief of behavioral health and crisis services, said in an interview that the restoration center would be an alternative to charging people with a crime and putting them in jail. Instead, it would offer them behavioral health services.

At the center, people would receive services for anywhere from 24 to 72 hours, Santiago said. He said it would help divert people who may end up in jail or the emergency room, and need some level of care. 

It would be staffed by nurses, social workers and others in the behavioral health field, he said.

“Some people may leave without needing a whole lot of service, but others may be more acute and require a higher level of services. … It’s a ‘no wrong door’ approach, where people can come in, and we can stabilize them and their behavioral health crisis they may be experiencing,” Santiago said.

Rockville’s planning commission needs to approve any proposal, because even though the county owns the site, it is within Rockville city limits. 

David Levy, Rockville’s assistant director of planning and business improvement, said in an interview that there has been no formal proposal to city officials yet.

The planning commission will review any proposal and impact for location, design and size.

“It’s not the same as a standard housing or mixed-use housing development, obviously, but we would review it like we would review any development proposal,” Levy said.

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steve.bohnel@bethesdamagazine.com

Steve Bohnel

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steve.bohnel@bethesdamagazine.com