Normal, IL: Plans to expand space for students with behavioral needs; "calming room"

May 10, 2018, Bloomington (IL) Pantagraph: (Normal) Unit 5 reviewing $1.2M special-needs addition at Hoose A proposed building addition at Colene Hoose Elementary School in Normal could increase student safety and create a better learning environment for students with special needs…. Colene Hoose is a hub for the district’s Behavioral Emotional Support Team (BEST) program, which provides intensive behavioral and emotional support to students. Currently, students in the BEST program attend class in smaller-than-average classrooms with 10 students per class. The district expects to have 30 BEST students in the fall. “If there is ever an emotional or physical outburst in which we have to respond,… The proposed 5,200-square-foot addition off the east wing of the building would include four, 900-square-foot classrooms and a common space. The current BEST program space will be reconfigured to provide a larger calming room, conference space and a sensory room, which offers interactive equipment to help children focus. The current calming room, used to de-escalate extreme behavior, is located down a long hallway and past other general education classrooms. … The project is estimated to cost $1.2 million — $725,000 of which would be collected from the school land dedication fees paid by developers when their final plots are recorded with the county. The remaining cost would come from the district’s working cash fund….