It's move–in week at the North Education Center on Zealand Avenue in New Hope.
"It started out as a sketch on a napkin about four years ago," said Thomas Shultz of Intermediate School District 287.
What began as a sketch on a napkin is now 157,000 square feet of bricks and mortar.
"There's a huge combination of new stuff, used stuff, and stuff from other sites coming here," he said.
"Stuff" from three different sites to be exact, and soon, everything will be under one roof to form the new, North Education Center of Intermediate District 287.
"This by far will be our largest new building," said District Superintendent Sandra Lewandowski. "We're converging several programs from different sites into this building, and as a result, we're not paying lease costs to those other facilities that we were using."
The new school took 16 months to build and will serve about 350 students, according to Shultz. Meanwhile 250 staff members will work in the building because many of the kids will need one–on–one attention.
"These students have special education needs that require very unique educational planning," Lewandowski said. "And they may have issues socially and emotionally with their behavior or their cognition."
She says the students who will occupy the school require a customized learning environment, which is specifically what this building was designed for.
"It's been designed for their learning plan, and we are very excited to combine our staff in this facility for that reason," Lewandowski said.
A facility that cost $35 million to build, $30 million of which came from the federal stimulus package.
"In my experience, we probably would never experience this kind of financing and so we were very fortunate to get it," Lewandowski said.
District officials hope, long term, that this new school will help at–risk students earn a diploma, and help special education students fulfill their individual goals.
"And we really are very serious about those long term goals," Lewandowski said.
Meantime, students enrolled at the school will range in age from infants to 21 years old.
A ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the grand opening will take place on Aug. 23 at 1 p.m.
July 26, 2012