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Bloomington, IL: School for kids with ASD/severe emotional disabilities to expand; increased need

Sept 28, 2017, The Bloomington (IL) Pantagraph: Baby Fold renovating building to expand Hammitt School http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/baby-fold-renovating-building-to-expand-hammitt-school/article_0a9080d4-c66e-5ed4-b37a-dec969dd920f.html The Hammitt School expansion is prompted by increased need. Hammitt School provides instruction for students with autism or severe emotional disabilities whose intensive needs can't be met in special education programs in public schools, Schultz said. Forty school districts within a 60-mile radius of Bloomington-Normal refer students to Hammitt. Students' tuition at Hammitt is covered by those school districts, with some reimbursement by the state. "We refer students with behavioral or emotional disabilities to Hammitt School after we try everything else," said James Lines, special education director for the Deer Creek-Mackinaw school district…. Sometimes, students are able to return to the public schools. Schultz said eight students are on a waiting list for Hammitt Junior-Senior High. Lines said there is an increased need for services for students with behavioral or emotional disabilities. … Construction work includes replacing the building's heating/ventilation/air conditioning, roof and fire sprinkler systems; expanding the driveway to accommodate unloading and loading of students from school buses; adding parking spaces; and reconfiguring rooms back into classrooms, which will include "calming areas" for students experiencing anxiety… See earlier coverage about the need for the school: April 15, 2017, Baby Fold planning to expand Hammitt School http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/baby-fold-planning-to-expand-hammitt-school/article_83d01345-e208-5912-8095-b528477bd07a.html Hammitt School serves special education children with intensive needs that cannot be handled in traditional special education programs in public schools, said Aimee Beam, Baby Fold vice president of development and public relations. "There has been a real increase," including students on the autism spectrum, Beam said Friday. "We're bursting at the seams," she said. "But we don't want these kids to be on waiting lists."