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Montevideo, MN: New SPED school set for 2019-20; $5.2M cost for 25-30 students

Nov 15, 2018, Willmar, MN, West Central Tribune: Montevideo breaks ground on Northstar school for students with special needs A public partnership between the city of Montevideo and the Southwest West Central Service Cooperative is making possible a new school to serve area students with special needs. Construction on the Northstar Educational Learning Center is underway, with expectations that the 22,500-square-foot facility on the east edge of Montevideo will be ready for its first students at the start of the 2019-20 school year. … The Montevideo Economic Development Agency is the project owner. It is taking on approximately $5.2 million in debt to construct the facility, which it will then lease to the service cooperative with a buyout option, according to Steve Jones, Montevideo city manager. For the city, the project represents an economic development initiative. The school will create 30 to possibly 40 new jobs in the community when fully staffed with paraprofessionals and licensed instructors. Jim Curtiss, mayor-elect of Montevideo, called the facility a great addition for the community. … For the service cooperative, the new school represents the first of its learning centers that is specifically designed and built for students with special needs. The cooperative operates learning centers in Cosmos, Willmar, Belview, Windom and Pipestone. The sixth site in Montevideo will also help it achieve a goal of offering services within 30 miles of all students in the area served by the cooperative. Carmody said the school is expected to initially serve 25 to 30 students in grades K-12. It will be the first of its centers to also include a preschool component, he added. The site offers space for expansion if student enrollment grows, which is very possible, according to Carmody. Special needs programs fill very quickly at all of the centers. "Somewhere there is a ceiling, but we haven't found it yet," he said. The learning centers serve students with behavioral, mental health and other learning disabilities. The students will come from area school districts. … The new school will feature smaller classrooms, as well as sensory rooms for students to take time when struggling during the school day. …

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