The Department of Juvenile Justice
has yet to determine the future of the
North Florida Youth Development
Center site once the juvenile facility
closes June 30.- Mark Skinner/Floridan
Dozier property's future unclear
The Department of Juvenile Justice has yet to determine the future
of the North Florida Youth Development Center site once the
juvenile facility closes June 30.- Mark Skinner/Floridan
By Morgan Carlson
Published: May 29, 2011
When the North Florida Youth Development Center closes June 30,
it will leave the 364-acre Marianna facility vacant for the first time in
Now, the Department of Juvenile Justice, along with public officials
and community leaders, are starting to look at the options for the
future of the property.
The state-operated juvenile reform school opened in January 1900.
The 185 employees currently working at the facility were informed
Thursday morning it would be closing due to budget cuts.
The center, formerly known as the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, is located on the southwest side of Marianna
and has a total of 85 buildings.
The Department of Juvenile Justice, which operates the facility, said in a statement to employees Thursday, “We are
collaborating with other state agencies to determine potential uses for the facility after we vacate the property.”
Rep. Brad Drake, R-Eucheeanna, said “(DJJ staff) assured me, and I talked at length with the DJJ chief of staff, that
they are working hard with other agencies, looking for a way to possibly put another agency into the space, some
other government function into that facility. But that may not happen and it certainly won’t be overnight, but maybe
over the next year. It’s a wait and see situation right now.”
One Dozier employee said he has heard that the Department of Corrections may want to put a program for female
offenders on the Dozier campus. But Drake said he could only confirm that the Department of Corrections is one of
many agencies involved in discussions about the future of the campus.
Drake said he would also be open to the idea of some private company moving into the facility.
Rep. Marti Coley, R-Marianna, said she has talked with Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Wansley Walters,
specifically about the future of the property.
According to Coley, Walters said the Department of Corrections has been out to the facility to look at the property.
Coley said she is “going to be very nosy,” and get involved to actively pursue getting something into the space.
“No one wants to see that facility empty,” Coley said.
Art Kimbrough, president and CEO of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and member of the youth center’s
advisory board, said he has received assurances from the Department of Juvenile Justice that the facility will be
maintained to a high standard so it won’t deteriorate and become “a liability in the community.”
Kimbrough said the facility is an asset, and has lots of potential uses for state or private enterprises. He said the
community advisory board will continue to work with DJJ to find a new use for the property that will be “beneficial to
the state, and the economy of Jackson County, and the people of Jackson County.”