Elmore Academy halls empty, as last teens leave

ELMORE – The kids are gone from Elmore Academy.

“We just got the last kid out Wednesday,” said T.J. Mauer, acting facility administrator.

For 15 years, Elmore Academy has been the temporary home of at-risk teens from across the state, whose offenses have ranged from truancy to serious crimes.

The few remaining teenagers who remained at the Academy were evaluated by staff and by workers from their home counties and either sent home or to other facilities.

Mauer had announced earlier this month that Youth Services International, which owns the residential youth facility, had decided to close the Academy.

“We’re closing now to re-evaluate (its) services for the state of Minnesota,” he said.

There is still no exact date for when the facility will shutter its doors. Some of the 40 to 50 employees have been laid off while others have chosen to transfer to another Youth Services International facility, Mauer said. Those who still remain on site are cleaning and conducting inventory of memorabilia and supplies.

“We’ll be closer to getting a date by the end of (this) week,” Mauer said.

The closing date depends on “how fast we get things done,” he added.

Mauer took the reins at Elmore Academy in April 2013, after key academy personnel – including the facility’s administrator, assistant administrator and operations manager – were let go. A year prior, Faribault and Martin county officials had removed all their youth from the facility, citing supervision reasons.

“There’s no ill feelings to any staff no longer here,” Mauer said at that time in an interview with the Sentinel. “Elmore is just moving in another direction; turning a new leaf, so to speak.”