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New therapeutic program opens in the old Oakley School facility

Image obtained from Oakley School Website
Oakley School

A former boarding school in Oakley has shifted to an inpatient treatment program for teens.

The Oakley School in Weber Canyon, opened in 1998 as a therapeutic, co-ed college prep boarding school. It now has new owners, a new name, and an expanded youth mental health treatment programming.

Newport Academy Executive Director Gary Broadbent said his father was one of the founders of the Oakley School. Broadbent said that the Oakley School had success as a boarding school, but after a change of hands some 10 years ago it closed due to financial problems.

 "The Oakley school was successful initially.  At one point, we had over 120 students up here at the campus. And then, my father and his partners were approached by another organization that purchased just the property. More often the case than not when larger companies come in and purchase programs like this, sometimes they lose their initial spirit and things didn't necessarily go as planned."

Broadbent said the Newport programs are nationally successful due to the unique treatment provided to youth ages 13 to 17 and a half. He said the new school had a soft opening September 1 and anticipated filling up by the end of the week.

The school is licensed to handle 15 patients, and ultimately, the plan is to provide 60 beds and serve both boys and girls.

He said Utah is known for residential youth treatment programs, but most privately run schools are too expensive for many families to afford.

"One of the things that attracted me to Newport is that we are insurance-based reimbursement. For the first time within the state of Utah, we're providing the level and quality of care that you typically find in the for-profit model, but we're making that available to more people that can get the cost of the program reimbursed."

Broadbent said the average length of stay is 45 to 55 days, which is shorter but more intense than many other private programs. Counselors with master's degree-level training work in the dormitories.

"Their job is to really kind of deal with the here and now kinds of issues--work with the students in the therapeutic milieu.  Each student is also assigned an individual therapist who is doing the typical individual therapy work to resolve past trauma, etc. And then they're also assigned a family therapist."

The Newport Academy also offers academic support so kids don’t fall behind while in treatment. Broadbent said the academy’s emphasis is on deep therapeutic work.

KPCW reporter Carolyn Murray covers Summit and Wasatch County School Districts. She also reports on wildlife and environmental stories, along with breaking news. Carolyn has been in town since the mid ‘80s and raised two daughters in Park City.