Work continues on China Spring girls facility |

Work continues on China Spring girls facility

by Christy Chalmers, staff writer

Work is continuing on plans to add facilities for girls to the China Spring Youth Camp.

The facility, located nine miles south of Gardnerville, now houses about 40 delinquent boys who are sent there by judges and juvenile masters from around Nevada. They stay an average of six months, participating in vocational and educational programs.

The state Legislature appropriated $2.8 million in 1999 to expand the camp. The addition, to be called Aurora Pines, will share some existing facilities like the kitchen, laundry and gymnasium, but it will be considered a separate entity.

China Spring director Steve Thaler said floor plans are being designed, and he estimated bids will be sought in two to three months.

“This is the longest part of the process, getting everything ready to go to bid,” he noted.

When the proposal was made, juvenile probation officials emphasized that Aurora Pines would fill a major gap in the juvenile services available to girls. Nevada authorities assess juvenile delinquents and assign them to one of four levels.

The first level covers those assigned to the programs run by county juvenile probation departments, which are open to boys and girls.

Level 2 offenders are considered candidates for China Spring, which focuses on education and training.

Level 3 and 4 offenders are the toughest cases. The Nevada Youth Training Centers at Elko and Caliente are designed for Level 3 offenders, and a Level 4 facility, for serious and chronic offenders, is located in Clark County.

Of those facilities, only Caliente takes girls, and judges have been frustrated because they’re faced with sending intermediate female offenders home, which may not be an adequate punishment, or to Caliente, which doesn’t necessarily address their problems. Aurora Pines will have gender-specific programs that are designed for girls’ needs.