Little mentioned publicly by state officials for almost a year, plans to reestablish a youth detention facility at the location of the former Camp Sierra Blanca northeast of Ruidoso are taking shape.

In a notice issued Thursday, the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) announced a scheduled a community town hall meeting "to discuss the progression of the Fort Stanton detention facility."

In addition, the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solution's job posting website includes openings for full-time general correctional officer specialists. A partial job description stated CYFD is recruiting for the correctional officers to provide maintenance, repairs and improvements for the Fort Stanton facility.

The town hall meeting is scheduled for Monday in the cafeteria of Ruidoso High School. The session, which will allow for questions from the community about the project, will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Scheduled to be at the meeting are CYFD Deputy Cabinet Secretary Jennifer Padgett, Deputy Director of Facilities Ken Pifer, Associate Deputy Director Amy Orlando, and the agency's Communications Director Henry Varela.

A juvenile detention camp is located just west of historic Fort Stanton but has not been operated for almost four years. It was March 2012 when the department said there was a need to expand its long-term programming for youthful offenders and the former Camp Sierra Blanca location was again on the table.


But unlike the community's generally warm acceptance of the facility in the late 1990s and much of the 2000s, the March 2012 proposition of reopening the detention camp received a cool reception from some.

A year ago CYFD officials talked about having the facility back in operation as soon as late 2012. While the former Camp Sierra Blanca had a capacity of 48 youth, the agency's deputy cabinet secretary said last year that the initial limit would be about half the previous population. And the facility would look, at least on the outside, more like a prison.

Camp Sierra Blanca had opened about 15 years ago as a reintegration center for teens who got in serious trouble with the law. It had been operated by private businesses at different times before closing in 2009.

Talk last year was to make improvements, especially to security, at the former Camp Sierra Blanca.

The new proposed state budget awaiting the governor's pen includes a $900,000 appropriation for the planning, design, renovation, improvements of infrastructure and facilities at the youth diagnostic and development center and adolescent treatment center

in Bernalillo County and at Fort Stanton in Lincoln County.