Final phase on China Spring approved

After five years of planning the grand opening of the juvenile treatment center, which includes a facility for girls, should be in summer.

The $2.8 million expansion of China Spring Youth Camp should be completed and opened by July 1, 2002. Douglas County leaders on Thursday awarded K.W. Western the bid of $858,700 for the final phase of the project. The first phase girls dormitory is nearly finished.

"We're real excited about getting these projects going," said China Spring Director Steve Thaler. "It took a lot of work and time and now all things seem to be falling into place."

Funding includes $750,000 from the State Legislature and $125,000 from the county's capital improvement fund.

The juvenile treatment center, southwest of Gardnerville, will be the first of its kind in the state with a camp serving both boys and girls.

China Spring currently has room for 40 boys.

In 1999, Douglas County judges and juvenile officials successfully made their case for the state-funded expansion before Nevada legislators. The bill was introduced by Sen. Lawrence Jacobsen, R-Minden.

It will replace the existing boys dorm and add facilities for girls at China Spring who would have their own camp called Aurora Pines.

With money for the project released last year, it took another year to get the designs and architecture in place, Thaler said.

Douglas County commissioners awarded the contract for the first phase of the project in June.

The $1.4 million first phase included a new dorm facility for girls and expansion of administration offices.

The second phase will complete a new 40-bed boys dormitory.

The 60-bed girls facility should be in full operation by July 1. The program will be gender-specific for female offenders ages 12-18.

Both camps will share the existing gym, kitchen and laundry facilities but would use them at different times to ensure the boys and girls don't interact.

The facility was needed because the state doesn't have a facility for intermediate female offenders. Caliente in Lincoln County, the only state facility that takes girls, is intended for more serious offenders.

The Aurora Pines facility will feature daily programs not unique to the juvenile justice system, including five hours of schooling, skills training, chores and duties.

But since it's a girls facility, the program will include "cultural relevance activities" pertaining to areas of development, empowerment, sexual and physical abuse programs, self-esteem, self-defense, substance abuse classes and will highlight women's contributions in history.

"Girls and boys are different in the kinds of educational programs they need. While we will emphasize (rehabilitation) it will not be as regimented as the boys program," Thaler said earlier this year.

Aurora Pines will serve girls from throughout the state in 45-to 90-day terms, depending on each case. The girls would go to school full-time, get counseling and participate in vocational programs at the camp.

A new dorm for the boys will be constructed and opened about three months after the girls facility is opened, Thaler said.


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