The Utah Boys Ranch will move to a new location by February, leaving its home of 26 years.

During a press conference Wednesday, staff announced the sale of the present Boys Ranch property, 3809 W. 6200 South, to Valley Mental Health.Since the land deal was settled, individuals in the community have expressed concern that the Utah Boys Ranch is closing. It isn't.

"We're still very much in business," said Kyle Washington, Boys Ranch director of development. "In fact, we're expanding."

Washington said that the ranch has not yet selected its new location, although several pieces of land are being considered. When it does open, sometime before February, the program will expand and become co-educational.

The Utah Boys Ranch opened in June 1964. In almost three decades, it has faced some financial ups and downs and changed its focus a little. Now, it's moved full-circle and returned to its original philosophy: early intervention for troubled youths.

In the past, it has contracted with the Division of Family Services to provide services to troubled youths. The division canceled the contract, then reinstated it. Boys Ranch later stopped contracting with the state because it wanted to deal with troubled youths and their families before the boys got into serious trouble with authorities and were referred to Family Services.

The residential program, which accepts young men between 8 and 16 years old, is now "at capacity," Washington said, with 40 boys. Its early intervention emphasis provides an incentive structure and group-home setting for troubled boys, while working with other family members to solve problems.

The ranch also offers periodic education classes on topics generally related to family and relationships. The parents of boys at the ranch attend parenting classes.

Utah Boys Ranch no longer carries any government contracts and relies exclusively on private donations to meet its operating expenses.

Valley Mental Health will use the property for its Adolescent Residential Treatment Program.