At the new residential and day school that Easter Seals is opening in the former St. Margaret Mary School in Irondequoit, no special-needs child will be turned away due to expense or challenges of providing services.
The school at 401 Rogers Parkway will be renovated to serve up to 36 students with developmental difficulties ranging from physical disabilities to autism-spectrum disorders, Easter Seals officials announced Dec. 14. The agency closed on the property on Dec. 13 and broke ground Dec. 14 on two nine-bed ranch-style homes, said Danielle Abramson, development associate for Easter Seals of New York, Vermont and Coastal Fairfield County, Conn.
Easter Seals also will renovate the former convent to house an additional nine beds. The center will offer individualized special-education services, residential living with 24-hour supervision and clinical care. The facility also will have the ability to accept up to three special-needs children or young adults for temporary emergency respite care.
The center will serve students currently placed or who are at risk of being placed out of New York state for services. The private school will offer comprehensive special education with six classrooms, plus music, art, sensory integration, a computer lab, a library, a gym, a cafeteria, offices and room to expand in the future.
Easter Seals officials estimate the program’s operation will have about a $6 million annual budget, and the organization estimates that the center will add 109 new jobs. The nonprofit agency partnered with the state’s Office for People with Developmental Disabilities and the New York State Education Department to open the center.
It was funded in part by Kessler Family LLC, an affiliate of Kessler Group Inc., which operates 48 Friendly’s Restaurants and 21 Burger King locations in upstate New York.