DYS Alternative Lockup Complete

Gienapp Architects is proud to see the substantial completion of our project at the Lahey Center Alternative Lockup Program. As part of our on-call contract with the Department of Youth Services, Gienapp Architects was called in to perform this challenging renovation.

Lahey Center Facility

DYS developed this Worcester, MA-based program as an alternative short-term lockup program for low-risk youth offenders. The goal of the program is to provide a calming and rehabilitative environment for young people in crisis. Previously, the facility was dark, institutional, and outdated. The space was in clear need of updates and renovations.

Our project was to modernize the old and unwelcoming facility while accommodating the unique concerns and needs of the DYS. To design a secure facility that does not feel “institutional” was no easy task, and Gienapp Architects eagerly met this design challenge.

Starting with the shell of the building, we reconfigured the interior space. Our team created separate male and female wings with bedrooms and shared spaces, as well as a kitchen and administrative area. Additionally, we removed the existing drop ceilings, and installed skylights and interior windows to maximize natural light inside the building.

In order to capitalize upon the building’s new, open feel, our team selected entirely new interior finishes. Durable wood-look flooring and a white and blue color palette evoke feelings of calm and rest. Specially designed furnishings and hardware meet youth detention requirements without creating an “institutional” environment. Following this, we also created a ramp at the front of the building, as well as replacing all railings. This brought the space into compliance with all current accessibility standards.

“La Isla” mural by Pedro Torres

The new Department of Youth Services Alternative Lockup Program in Worcester is now able to provide a gentler environment for young people in a difficult situation, and will serve the Department of Youth Services for many years to come.