CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire’s troubled state-run youth detention center will stay open beyond its mandated closure date, but its future remains uncertain after lawmakers failed to agree on how to replace it.

Debate over the future of the Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester began years ago, but it has come to a boil amid horrific sexual abuse allegations stretching back decades. Frustrated with spending $13 million a year to operate a 144-bed facility for about a dozen teens, lawmakers in 2021 mandated that it close by March 2023. But disagreements over replacing the facility made meeting that deadline impossible.

The Senate passed a bill last month that would have required construction of a new 12-18 bed facility to be put out to bid by March and completed by November 2024. But the House passed an amendment with no debate this week that lacked a firm deadline. With no time to work out a compromise, the Senate quickly concurred with the House version and sent the bill to Gov. Chris Sununu, who signed it.

“While I appreciate this stopgap measure, let’s remember more work needs to be done this session to ensure we move quickly to dedicate funding for construction of a new facility that will meet the needs of these kids,” he said. “Time is of the essence.”

The Senate version of the bill would have allocated $15 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds for design and construction, although the Department of Administrative Services estimates costs could reach $25 million and construction could take until 2028.

The House version delays the facility’s closure until “a replacement facility is sufficiently completed that children can be legally and safely housed there.” The amendment allocates $400,000 for site evaluation and design, and requires two options to be considered: six to 12 beds and 12 to 18 beds.

Typically, when the House and Senate disagree, a bill gets sent to a conference committee where members of both parties work out a compromise. Given the existing closure deadline, that would have been impractical, said Senate President Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro.

“It’s better to send this bill to the governor, and then we all know we’re going to have further work to do,” he said.

Bradley praised the hard work done by House members, but Senate Democrats said they failed the state’s most vulnerable residents.

“The children at the Sununu Center have endured the most despicable abuse, and it is deeply concerning that the House chose to further delay addressing this dire problem,” Sen. Becky Whitley, D-Hopkinton, said in a statement. “Our work is far from done, and we will continue to fight for these children until a real solution is enacted.”

Lawmakers haven’t decided where to build the new facility but have mentioned Manchester, Concord or Hampstead as possibilities. In 2021, the state purchased Hampstead Hospital with the goal of transforming it into a residential and psychiatric treatment hospital for children and young adults.