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Ohio Street Probation Facility

Orchid Icon  Orchid
  Public Architecture

The Ohio Street Probation Center is the first project to fully incorporate the County of San Diego’s vision of an integrated approach to probation, rehabilitative, and community support services.  The program focuses on holistic assistance to clients, protecting public safety by coaching clients to restore their lives, families, and the communities they live in.

Designed to be non-institutional in appearance, with a warm character respectful of its clients and thoughtful and protective of County staff, the project accommodates a diverse program on a small, challenging infill site. The main entrance and open, two-story public lobby are designed to be visually accessible to the neighborhood; Probation administrative offices, testing, and staff areas are located to allow separate, safe, and secure access for staff; and a community outreach area provides offices for community service programs and easily accessible community meeting rooms, public food pantry with demonstration kitchen, and a community garden and patio.

A LEED Gold and Zero Net Energy (ZNE) certified building, the building’s form reflects its focus on sustainability.  Key design considerations included the scale and orientation of windows to reduce solar exposure while optimizing access to natural light.  Warm exterior metal panels provide a balance against the concrete texture.

3977 Ohio Street San Diego, CA 92104

Project Owner/Developer:
County of San Diego Department of General Services

Contact Name/Email:
Mark Zabonik/ Mark.Zabonik@sdcounty.ca.gov

Project Architect/Designer:
dstewart@steinberghart.com / Steinberg Hart

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  1. Naveen Waney

    It was a pleasure working with the County as Bridging Architects and Steinberg Hart did a great job with making it a reality. Great addition to North Park!

    • Steph

      Warm and thoughtful design. Inventive approach to the building’s program.

  2. Gail Goldman

    Another notable feature of the Ohio Street Probation Center is the artwork by Perry Vasquez. His two paintings–Sunflower and Moonflower– were developed after he engaged in conversation with six members of the justice involved community.

    Moonflower, seen in the last photo, invites viewers to reach new heights. Around the periphery is a brocade of portraits of inspirational public figures who have given meaning to the cause of restorative justice, including the six people who provided ideas for the content of the artwork.

  3. IYKYK

    They have the best flag pole around. Really pops as a 50′

  4. Stacy Ferda

    I remember hearing about the Ohio Street building around eight years ago. The comments were not good, and because of public resistance, the location could not be changed. What a wonderful rise to such a challenge. The building and interior look hopeful, which is exactly what is needed.

    • Tara Carlson

      Wow! What a beautiful and thoughtful design. Very expressive with simplicity. High five to the architect.

  5. Khristopher Tabaknek

    Excellent Job County of SD and PW/SB architectural teams: Overcoming great challenges to create a facility for a prominent need within our community, and done so beautifully.

  6. Oli Thordarson

    A beautiful new facility. Congratulations on a job well done.

  7. Salvador pena

    What a beautiful building! A nice addition to the neighborhood. Well done.

  8. Paul Micou

    What a fantastic idea! If the community shows respect for those on probation and helps them to build a productive rehabilitated lifestyle, it’s a win-win for everyone.

  9. Anthony Nava Velasquez

    1. It’s a nice building facility for the probation department. Great improvement and achievement of 20th century of Uptown North Park.

    2. I would like to see a parking structure, EV charging point.

    3. The probation signs and number should be a monument instead paste against the building.

    4. The building numbers needs to be bigger

  10. Alicia Perez

    Such a warm welcoming environment!

  11. Scott Christman

    The new office on Ohio Street was built with input from the community and support from neighbors. The building includes rehabilitative services, a space for community meetings, a demonstration kitchen to teach cooking skills, and a food pantry. This is a beautiful facility that will have a lasting and positive impact on the community that it serves.

  12. Adel B Korkor MD

    I am not an architect but I understand and appreciate the functionality and the inspiration any building I look at offers.
    The architectural design of this building for its intended use provides an exceptional warmth, inspiration, hospitality and functionality.

  13. María Luisa Muñiz Ramos


  14. Mark Kruse


  15. Kathy Sampson RN,MSN

    My immediate reaction is a unique and welcoming design. The environment appears to be designed to facilitate gathering. The color choices are warm and relaxing. Overall, this space is lovely.


    Creative concept to attract both people and natural light from Ohio St in the increasingly dense North Park neighborhood.

  17. Jason Druxman

    The Probation Department envisioned a warm and welcoming space to provide services that are aimed to support, educate and empower those that probation serves directly and indirectly within the community. This beautiful non-traditional government building provides clients a space that embodies dignity and respect while seeking services for rehabilitative outreach and support groups, classes around developing cooking skills (culinary space), referrals for those that are home insecure and on-site collaborative services with other local and county agencies.

    • James Robbins

      Thank you for your kind words Jason. We were very, very lucky to have a client that cared so deeply, knew so much, and worked so hard to incorporate trauma-informed design principles in support of support restorative justice programs.

  18. Steve Schmidt

    When it comes to the built environment, the County’s goal is to have Places which are inviting and respectful to all who come to them, as well as to passersby, and the community in general. Steinberg Hart has created a Place which achieves that goal. Congratulations!

    • James Robbins

      Courtney Fischer, the project manager for RA Burch/ECC builders, and the County’s project manager Mark Zabonik deserve much of the credit.

      Thank you Steve. You made it all possible by working thoughtfully to overcome the community’s initial suspicions, gain their trust, and respect their wishes. Your pre-design work gave us a starting point and a clear direction.

      This project was very special to us because of the program and the community context, and also because of the opportunity you gave us to provide a net-zero energy LEED Gold facility and to work with a great artist like Perry Vasquez. It was a privilege to work with you and your team.

    • Anas Al Chawaf

      Rare are the buildings which were designed to be architecturally attractive during daylight and night, this Ohio Street Probation Facility is.
      The same successful design strategy seems to apply on the Interior Design.
      Very good example of a golden LEED & ZNE certification.

  19. Vicky


  20. Arcelia Osuna

    A very beautiful and warming place so adécuate and thoghtful for the type of therapy it is ment for.


  21. Diana Romero

    very good project, beautiful and looks functional, with large spaces, excellent areas, congratulations

  22. Norma Osuna


  23. Norma Osuna


  24. Pamelja Ferderbar

    Finally! A public building that caters to the visitor/end user/client, i.e. the mixed materials, color palette, and of course the architecture itself tells the visitor “you are important to us.” This building should serve as a beacon, or template for everyone interested in community building.

  25. Kathryn Moroz

    Both interior and exterior are vibrant and open for probation and the community. Great work Mark and Steinberg Hart. Congrats!

  26. Hend

    Best of luck, great project!

  27. Andrew Gregor

    Great addition to North Park. Really improved that block on Ohio Street.

  28. Sphabmixay

    I was unsure of the idea of the building during construction but it turned out beautiful! Well done Probation Department! Well done for bringing a bit of warmth to the public. Well done on ensuring all feels welcomed.

    I’d love to see a dedicated parking structure built nearby for employees and for those who have business at the office. North Park is so dense and lacks parking spaces. Please consider this next!

  29. Chinh Nguyen

    What a nice building! The orange looks warm environment.

  30. Katherine Peterson, NCIDQ

    WOW, this building is warm and inviting, much better for Probations client’s and staff. I love the back lit signage and address. You’ll be able to find this building day or night.
    Great Job to County for LEED Gold and ZNE status.
    All around successful project for Steinberg Hart Architects and the County of San Diego’s department of DGS.

  31. James Robbins

    This project really benefited from great engineering, interior design and art consultation. Glumac and Elen did a great job with the net zero energy modeling and hvac design. Erin Persky was instrumental because of her expertise with trauma-informed design. Perry Vasquez’ site-specific art was fully integrated into the interior design.

  32. Ruba Fadayel

    Great and fantastic work

  33. Ennab


  34. Yazz

    Awesome project!

  35. Mirna G

    Very impressive… I like the modern open design and the vibe.

  36. Mirna G

    Great modern design with open space and natural light.

  37. David Gonzalez

    Very well executed given the challenges of program and distribution of spaces.
    Interesting massing and detail articulation that show cases the building nicely in the public right of way.

  38. Fernando Aguirre

    This interior is so amazingly beautiful, and it flows with ease. One other aspect that caught my eyes was it has a blue interior light for emergency active shooter alert. Clever! I’ve seen other features as well like delayed egress and exterior knox box away from the main entry for safety.

    • Yazan

      Super like… perfect design and great execution

  39. Sami Khoury

    The Ohio Street Probation Facility project is unique, original architecture. It emanates a majestic portal ambiance, displaying subtle textural contrasts and craftsmanship in mingling symmetry with asymmetry, especially between the polished concrete and the light bronze sheet metal. It radiates earthy elegance through its focused stacking of solid and void, alongside the juxtaposing of opacity and transparency. The artwork within, further elevates the large planes, creating a harmonious blend. It’s compelling how the architecture encapsulates such an atmosphere for its designated use, showcasing hope and promoting inclusion.
    Among all the projects displayed, this one manifests the densest design and artistic intensity per square foot, truly distinguishing it from the crowd.

  40. Nasan Esber



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