Diamond Ranch Academy teen treatment facility opens new Hurricane campus

Phase 1 of the new Diamond Ranch Academy campus, Hurricane, Utah, Nov. 17, 2012 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News

HURRICANE – The Diamond Ranch Academy private residential treatment facility and school for teens has expanded to a new campus that will allow them to further serve troubled teens.

For the first years of its existence, the Academy was located in a remote ranch area near Apple Valley. Plans for a new campus, five miles outside of Hurricane in the Elim Valley area, were approved by City of Hurricane in November 2011 and last month, the first phase became fully operational.

Football field on the new Diamond Ranch Academy campus, Hurricane, Utah, Nov. 17, 2012 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News

Aside from a more convenient location, the facility adds a full artificial turf football field with a track, an indoor basketball gym and an outdoor sports court.

The community has already begun taking advantage of the enhancements; Diamond Ranch held their first home basketball game against Hurricane High School Tuesday and last Saturday, hosted youth football league playoffs.

Construction on the second phase, which includes an artificial turf baseball field, tennis courts, a splash pad, an equestrian arena and additional living facilities, is currently underway and expected to be complete within six months. The total cost of the complex is $10 million.

“(This) new project has brought a lot of excitement (and) hope to the area,” Admissions Director Dan Borchardt said. “The jobs we provide in the community and the taxes we pay set a high standard. We look forward to continuing serving Southern Utah.”

Diamond Ranch Academy was founded in 1999 and has garnered wide acclaim for its services since, including being endorsed by renowned psychotherapist and author Dr. Taylor Hartman and featured on U.S. cable network The CW’s “Dr. Drew’s Life Changers.”

new Diamond Ranch Academy campus, Hurricane, Utah, Nov. 17, 2012
Phase 1 of the new Diamond Ranch Academy campus, Hurricane, Utah, Nov. 17, 2012 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News

Juveniles ages 12 to 18 come to the school from across the nation and even the world to seek assistance with substance abuse, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, peer pressure, anger management, self-esteem issues, grief and loss management, struggles with academics, communication and family relationships and many other emotional and behavioral issues.

The school’s comprehensive therapy includes individual, family and group counseling sessions with licensed mental health professionals, a 12-step substance abuse support program and equine therapy. The Real Life Transition Program involves students in jobs, community service projects and a peer-participant judicial system.

Residents live full-time in one of four housing facilities, and are divided according to age and gender. To manage the 180-strong student body, the Academy employs a staff of 160 Southern Utah residents.

Diamond Ranch is also a fully accredited 1A private high school with curriculum that aligns with Utah state standards. In addition to regular academics, students can participate in career and life skills classes, a music program, field trips and yearlong clubs including 4-H, fine arts, hiking, debate, pottery and media. The comprehensive athletics program is comprised of football, basketball, cheer, dance, volleyball, wrestling, track and field, baseball, softball and golf teams that compete against other 1A schools throughout the state.

“Character building is a major component of Diamond Ranch Academy,” Borchardt said. “Students learn respect for themselves and other throughout all components of the school.”

Diamond Ranch Academy campus, Hurricane, Utah
Phase 1 of the new Diamond Ranch Academy campus, Hurricane, Utah, Nov. 17, 2012 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News

Email: avmorgan@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

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6 Comments

  • Simon Fights January 15, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    DRA is run by a family with nothing but profit in mind. In their greed, they have abused many vulnerable children both physically and emotionally. The fact that they are opening a new campus is evidence only of the success of their scams and the lack of concern espoused by the community that allows them to operate. Shame on Rob Dias, and shame on St. George, UT.

  • Gunther January 15, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    I’m sorry Simon Says, but this facility is in Hurricane, not in STG. Shame on you for not reading the article

  • Argument Ref January 26, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Simon Says earns a technical foul, while Gunther commits the foul of Unneccessary Stickling, resulting in a mandatory, well reasoned response to the essence of Simon Says’ comment. Gunther, lets hear it.

  • Kiwi January 26, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    I feel like Simon DID read the article. The reason that he pointed out STG was because thats where the facility originated. I have heard many tales of abuse from the facility but, in my opinion, its ultimately the families of the children that are fueling this place and its cruelty; not Rob Dias. Without the funding from the parents the place wouldnt be in operation, so the real shame is on them.

  • Opliberation1 May 18, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Hey Robbie,
    We are so proud of you for beating that women then making it go away.. We love what you have done with diamond ranch academy of hell. Love to extend your hunting license that you use to run it. Slime.

  • LukeB June 24, 2014 at 4:12 am

    I was at Diamond Ranch for 4 month (2/13 to 6/14). I’d say only about 3% (if that) actually “seek” help for their problems. The author and this article failed to mention that the remaining 97% of kids are literally dragged from their beds in the middle of the night by hired professional “transporters” (legal kidnappers) and taken to this place. At the time you have no idea whats happening, all they say is that they are taking you too your new “school.” Once there you are searched and forced to remove all your clothes in front of a stranger and then given your uniforms which are the only clothes you can wear wear your entire time there. After that you are placed in the beginning phase called O&A (Observation&Assessment), this is where they try to break you. You are not allowed to speak with anybody who is not in that phase and only can do so when given permission, which is only a few short times a day. You can not even talk to your parents on the phone or get letters from anyone until you complete the O&A phase, which can be completed in 12 days if you are perfect but if you do not comply at all,you can sit in this phase for 2-3 months. In this phase they use you as free labor and if you refuse you just keep sitting in that phase until they finally just get sick of you and move you on. In order to complete the O&A phase you need to complete multiple petty written assignments, and memorize various ranch propoganda & rules, not to mention the cult-like beliefs they have(for example, personalities are classified by 4 colors depending on traits. U have to have a primary and secondary color. There are no variations, all people fit into these 4 colors. Various work throughout the program involves these and other cult-like beliefs. ), not to mention they specifically cater to Mormons which only make up only about 10% of the student population but 95% of the staff population, you are treated differently if you are not Mormon, and staff try to force their beliefs upon you even if you are of another religion. And they look at you like your crazy when you dont want to be preached too.

    I forgot to mention how you are NOT allowed to leave until the day you turn 18, your contract runs out, your parents decide to get you out of there, or you graduate the program (6-12 months is the norm, however while I was at DRA there was a young boy there who had sadly been there for 2 years..). You are literally a prisoner.. this may seem like an exaggeration, unfortunately its not. If you disobey what you are told or refuse to have any part in their “program” you are punished, if the punishment isnt working they literal you( they call it “restraining”). Restraining, as they call it, is only something that is legal if the individual is a threat to himself or others. On innumerable occasions, I have seen the illegal implementation of this tactic on kids as young as 12 years old for things as petty as refusing to do a small chore. The staff are especially brutal with certain kids who are considered disobedient rule-violators. On one occasion a young boy was picked up and thrown into a wall by a staff member for not listening to a directive. I do not understand how any of this is helping kids.. and they have the nerve to label themselves a “therapeutic environment.” Fear and Intimidation is not a therapeutic tool in any sense of the word. Diamond Ranch staff are committing heinous acts of physical, psychological, and emotional damage to these kids who have no choice in whether they are there or not. Two students have died in the Ranchs’ 15 year history, there have been many suicide attempts by students who are not getting the proper psychological help they need. In my 4 month stay at diamond ranch there were at least 10 suicide attemtpts, if not more. If you try to run away you are chased down like a dog and tackled, if you keep resisiting they will beat you until you stop. “Resistance is Futile” takes on a whole nother meaning at Diamond Ranch Academy. This, my fellow readers, is why I say kids who are at this facility are treated like Prisoners. And from what I heard about the old ranch(I was at the new facility in Hurricane), the conditions have actually improved..meaning it was 10x worse before I got there. I heard horror stories about the old ranch.

    If none of this disturbs you, then you should seriously consider investing in a decent psychologist. I wish this was all made up, and that Diamomd Ranch was a fantastic program that truely helped youths get their lives together, but it just isnt true.. They pumped me full of powerful psychiatric drugs and all I could do was just play along with their little game until my 18th birthday(June 7th 2013), where my salvation waited for me.

    The reason I was sent to Diamond Ranch Academy was because of a crippling drug addiction that started when I was 16 years old. At DRA I received absolutely ZERO treatment for my addiction. The sad part was that I truely had a desire to stop using drugs and that desire was not nurtured in any way by this so called “treatment center.” The only thing this place offered me was packets… yes, packets.. Needless to say these didnt do anything for me, of course. The one other thing they offered for addiction treatment was that they started having groups, the groups were held twice every other week and all “students” were required to participate. The students were grouped depending on their issues, mine was substance abuse. We all left the gym to go to our separate groups. In my sunstance abuse “group,” if u can call it that, was primarily full of kids who just smoked pot, only one other kid out of 12 besides me had an actual serious addiction problem to hard drugs. The group was headed by a staff member, hes a cowboy from rural utah who does the equine therapy program(which costs an extra couple thousand dollars on top of the ridiculously high cost to “attend” diamond ranch). Somehow this cowboy from the middle of nowhere, whos never done a drug in his life, somehow ended up heading this substance abuse group. Besides being completely underqualified to help us with substance abuse the group was a huge joke. Nobody got anything out of it, I actually spoke up and blatantly told the cowboy that we could not relate to him at all, that hes not helping us, and that this just a complete joke. He couldnt even say anything back because it was true.

    I’ve been typing this for 2 hours and im exhausted. In short, the Dias family are swindlers heading a criminal organization, taking advantage of desperate parents and their staff should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for unlawful imprisonment, child abuse and neglect. Diamond Ranch itself should be prosecuted for false advertising and for not rendering services advertised. I am sure there are plenty of other things they could be charged with. If anyone can do anything to help, please do it. Help these kids that have no voice. If a young child got beaten up or molested by these power-drunk staff they would not even be able to call the police becuase they have zero access to a phone incase of an incident like that. These kids are prisoners, please do not just sit back and do nothing as these crimes against underage kids with mo voice are being committed.

    All in all , for me I got out when I turned 18 on June 7th, 2013. That was my date of liberation from that hell hole. The experience of being abducted and my time at diamond ranch has done much more harm than help. I still get anxiety attacks when I think about it all. I dont know if the paranoia and anxiety related to experience will ever subside and if the trust issues with family and others will ever get better, however I am so greatful today to wakeup back home in Delaware where I belong, and not in that prison in Utah. For that alone, I am forever greatful to the God of my understanding.

    Thank you if you took the time to read this, pass on the message!
    -LukeB.

    If you have any questions at all, please email me @ lukebarrish@yahoo.com or message me on facebook. My name is in the email, just search my name and you’ll find me.

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