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Welcome to Lava Heights Academy

The Lava Heights campus is inspired by the spirit of Tuscan Artistry. Students enjoy a spacious, safe, contained environment that nurtures the soul.

Each space on the campus has been carefully created to promote an atmosphere that enhances artistic expression while prioritizing safety and health.  The campus includes comfortable and secure dormitories, classrooms, rehearsal rooms, and performance spaces – including a black-box theater.

Our Campus

Lava Heights Academy is nestled among the black lava rock bluffs at the gateway to Zion National Park.  Each year people from all over the world come to Southern Utah to see the scenic wonders we enjoy daily.

Situated at the base of black lava rock bluffs, our campus has beautiful views of the red, white, and blue rock formations of the Pine Valley Mountain to the west, and the red dunes and sandstone ledges of Sand Hollow to the south.

The mild climate of Southern Utah provides us with many opportunities to be outdoors – on campus as well as visiting the surrounding areas on field trips, hikes, and other activities that really engage troubled teens and struggling youth.

Our buildings are designed to be comfortable as well as functional – designed from the ground up as a therapeutic environment for healing through the arts.

The Courtyard & Labyrinth

The courtyard is a place of activity all day long.  The green grass and the beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and bluffs attract students, groups, and classes for activities of all kinds.  You’ll find the students preparing for parts in the upcoming play, photographers waiting for the perfect lighting of their subject, or the science class spread out on the grass creating a scale model of the solar system.

In the center courtyard of our campus you’ll find an interesting pattern of grass and stone.  We call it the Labyrinth.  Not only is it interesting to look at and fun walk through the winding path to the star in the center – it is also a tool used in therapy unique to troubled teens.

The labyrinth provides a physical metaphor – a place to process feelings, emotions, and other issues as you walk through the path toward the center goal where troubled teens can leave problems, issues, fears or concerns there to address further with the therapist.

Class Rooms

Education is an important part of an emotionally healthy person. At Lava Heights Academy, we work hard to help each student on his or her individual level, helping overcome academic weaknesses that made learning appear to be difficult and unrewarding.

Our classrooms are designed to allow teachers to instruct students as a group as well as allow individual study and instruction. Each classroom is equipped with modern technology, computers, and educational tools.

As students progress through their therapeutic goals you can be assured they won’t fall behind in their academic pursuits or grade level.

When students leave Lava Heights Academy, they are generally further ahead and better equipped with their new found skills as they return to their schools or go on to college.

We help each student learn to love learning again.

The Dining Room

Good meals are an important part of health and well-being of troubled teens – and our chefs are always busy preparing the numerous meals and snacks of the day.

Our expert chefs know how to make delicious meals that makes students feel at home and comfortable. Nutritious meals, as well as special diets for health or religious requirements are prepared with the care and skill.

Just like at home, the dining room is the central gathering place for hungry kids after a long day of activities, school work, practice, and fun – and even homework, board games, important discussions between family, friends, and staff.

Birthdays are always celebrated with with the traditional cake and ice cream, each student’s favorite is always everyone’s favorite on a birthday!

Black Box Theater

On campus we have several performance spaces, the courtyard, the gymnasium, the music room, and soon to be completed amphitheater.  But the most unique space on campus is our Black Box Theater.

The Black Box Theater is a relatively recent innovation in theatre that utilizes a large black room that can be fashioned into sets of any kind – only limited to the imagination of our students.

Sets are constructed for each production and often utilize not only the traditional frontal stage, but also spaces around and among the audience.  The blackness of the walls and absence of color allows the set to flow wherever the characters and lighting crew takes it.

Students may be actors, writers, directors, lighting or sound technicians, photographers, videographers, set designers, or scene artists – each student working on therapeutic goals in his or her craft.

The result is not only wonderful performances, and beautiful sets, the students together as a group grow in courage, confidence, and self-esteem as they see the fruits of their labors.


The gymnasium is a multi-purpose area designed for athletics, group activities, dance, and performances.

It has a full sized basketball court, a beautiful wooden floor and mirrored walls especially for dance and dance instruction.

IMG_0615The modular stage and seating platforms are used in both the gymnasium and the black box theater for musical performances, graduation ceremonies, and athletic events.

Athletic events range from basketball, to volleyball, indoor soccer, futsol, and the most popular of all – dodge ball!


The dormitories are located at the rear of the campus – the boys in the further building and the girls in the double story building closer to the front.

With the creek flowing just yards from the campus, the night air is filled with sounds of frogs, crickets, and birds throughout most of the year.

The sunsets in the west are absolutely beautiful as the clouds glow pink, orange, and red over the Pine Valley Mountains as the students walk to their dorms in the evening.

The dorms are clean and comfortable.  Each student has his or her own bunk bed, private space and chest of drawers to keep their things. Adjacent to each dorm room are the bathrooms and private showers.

We provide 24 hour awake supervision, so in the areas just outside the dorm rooms the staff are awake through the night working at an adjacent desk where they can supervise students without disturbing their sleep.


Health and safety is our first priority that guides all of our policies, procedures, and daily activities.  We provide 24 hour awake supervision by caring staff that are trained regularly in first aid, CPR, positive control systems, and youth protection.

We provide licensed medical staff around the clock to ensure the health and safety of each student. They are not only medically trained and licensed, they are additionally experienced with the unique needs of troubled teens and their families.

Our registered nursing staff monitor the individual medical requirements of each student prescribed by his or her physician and our attending Psychiatrist.

Offices & Meeting Spaces

Our campus provides many private and quiet spaces for therapy, family conference calls, group therapy, and individual therapy sessions.

Though you’ll often find students and therapists sitting in the shade or walking by the creek, sometimes a comfortable couch is just the right place to talk. Therapists use the environment as well as office spaces which allow them to reach out to troubled teens.

Group therapy and family therapy sessions often take place in the conference room, the music room, the patio, and even sometimes around the fireplace in the entry – an especially inviting area during the fall and winter.

Lava heights worked wonders for our daughter. We were encouraged by our family therapist to find a residential program that provided therapy through the arts as a means of communicating her thoughts better in therapy. She really came out of her shell and even performed in the Christmas program in front of all of the parents and students! It was an amazing transformation.  Allan K. - Detroit, MI
Thanks for the wonderful work you did with our family. Jayme has been home for almost a year next month and while there has been some ups and downs, he has always pulls himself back on track without our intervention. The skills he learned at Lava have given him opportunities for work and school we thought was lost. Thank you for getting our family back together and what you do for troubled teens.Nina & Ken L. - Corupus Christi, TX
For Help Call: (866) 452-8772 Admissions Coordinator
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