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Mountain Youth Academy’s $30 million expansion to bring 50 new jobs

By Tamas Mondovics


(Tate Davis contributed to this story)

Mountain Youth Academy is moving forward with a significant investment in its operations in Mountain City. Over the next few years, the company will build a new facility at a projected cost of $30 Million. Plans include adding about fifty new jobs as well.

 MYA Trauma Recovery Center for Children and Adolescents was pleased to announce that it has broken ground on the new 120-bed Trauma Residential Facility for youth ages 5-17 who need mental health services stemming from trauma.  

In a recent release, MYA officials stated that based on approval from the Johnson County Commission, Mountain Youth Academy is expanding its current 88-bed facility into a state-of-the-art, trauma-based facility to better serve youth in need of recovery. The expected opening is slated for the final quarter of 2023. 

The new facility is designed to balance safety through supervision and interaction with a kid-friendly atmosphere that allows kids to be kids while receiving needed medical treatment, officials said. 

The growth will provide approximately 50 new full-time jobs with current average compensation over MIT Calculator, Living Wage for Johnson County.

During the construction phase of the new building, our existing building remains operational, serving our community. Upon completion of the new building, demolition will occur on the existing building.     

“This facility expansion will allow us to enhance our services to those in our care while enhancing our ability to meet the needs of the community and decrease wait time for treatment,” said Eric Dunkerly, Chief Executive Officer of Mountain Youth
Academy. “We are excited to also grow our team by adding more than 50 new career opportunities. We are fortunate to have essential healthcare workers who are compassionate and dedicated to the delivery of care for childhood victims of trauma. We appreciate the relationships we have with those that prioritize the care for children that we provide. 

Our success is rooted in
part to the great support and relationships afforded to
us with our regulatory, contractual, and community partners.” 

Mountain Youth Academy opened in 2005, licensed as a 60-bed facility. Over the past seven years, the facility has expanded to allow for greater access to care.  

Johnson County Mayor Mike Taylor said he “spent about five months, off and on, in negotiation” with the company. 

“It turned out to be a win-win for everyone,” Taylor said. “The county will pick up a high dollar property for the tax rolls, we’ll benefit from keeping the jobs that are here now, and hopefully gain about fifty new jobs.” 

Data from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development already lists Mountain Youth Academy in the “top ten” list of Johnson County employers; the expansion will move it up that list.

“It’s a positive for our county,” Taylor added. “It covers all the areas you want to accomplish. Workforce development, protecting existing jobs, creating major investment in the future, and putting a high-value property on the tax rolls.”

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Mountain Youth Academy and Johnson County government officials pose for a photo during a groundbreaking ceremony of the facility’s new $30 million expansion project. The new 120-bed Trauma Residential building will double the current capacity, and will bring 50 new jobs to the community.