SALT LAKE CITY -- The current 2nd District Juvenile Court is an accident waiting to happen, court officials told lawmakers Tuesday.
Alyn Lunceford, facilities director with the state courts, said the juvenile courthouse in Ogden was built in 1987.
But a new building is needed, he said, because the current one at 444 26th St. is too small and poses safety hazards for judges, court staff, bailiffs, attorneys, defendants, witnesses and the general public.
A new courthouse would cost about $27 million.
Lunceford spoke Tuesday before the Joint Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee.
Included in information Lunceford submitted was a letter from Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner in support of the proposed courthouse.
About 28 percent of those arrested each month are younger than 18, and the "number of violent criminal encounters has been steadily rising for several years for the juvenile group," Greiner wrote.
The state bought land for the 2nd District Juvenile Court in 2008, Lunceford said.
Officials had hoped to get funding to begin construction in 2009, but the economy turned sour.
Lunceford told committee members that most of them live in homes with living rooms that are two-thirds the size of the courtrooms in the Ogden facility.
"Security is an absolute nightmare" because of the small size of the courtrooms, he said.
Lunceford said the judges' benches are so close to the gallery, someone could assault a judge.
"Less than a year ago, we had a person reach over the gallery and try to strangle an attorney," Lunceford said.
If a new court facility is built, the current structure would be used as offices for juvenile court-related activities and services.
The subcommittee also heard presentations from the Board of Regents, Utah State Hospital and the Division of Facilities and Services.
The Board of Regents presentation included the need for a new building for the Davis campus of Weber State University.
The Utah State Hospital's request is for a new medical services building and a new pediatric building to care for 72 patients, which would include adolescents and children.
The Division of Facilities and Services is requesting funding to remodel three buildings at the Freeport Center in Clearfield that the federal government donated to the state.
Gregg Buxton, the director of the division, said one building would be used as a training facility for Davis Applied Technology College.
Another building would house archives, saving the state about $350,000 a year in leases.
The third building would be used by the state's Department of Agriculture as a laboratory and for storage for the Division of Forestry and Fire.
Rep. Gage Froerer, R-Huntsville, who is a co-chairman of the committee, said the requests are not part of the base budget approved Tuesday by the House.
The committee will review the requests and make final decisions after the state receives an update on projected revenues.