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updated: 12/17/2010 8:47 AM

Special ed expansion coming to Addison school

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Students coming back from winter break at Lake Park Elementary School in Addison will notice some changes starting shortly after their return.

Construction is slated to begin in February on a $450,000 expansion that will add four rooms to the east end of the school at 330 Lake Park Drive, which will serve as small meeting space and classrooms for special education groups, district officials said.

The school was approved for more than $685,000 in federal grant money through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the money was awarded under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

These are one-time funds that must be spent on special education, said Marcy Boyan, Addison School District 4 assistant superintendent for business.

"You don't want to turn your back on any kind of money, especially in this economy," Boyan said. "But you really can't use it for long-term items, as much as we would love to use it for teacher salaries. So it is ideal for a bricks and mortar project."

Lake Park serves 388 students, according to its Illinois School Report Card for this year, and about 80 are eligible for special education.

The expansion will cover about 2,300 square feet of special education rooms that can be used as small classrooms or for students to meet with professionals like physical therapists or speech pathologists, Boyan said.

Since construction is budgeted at $450,000, the remaining $215,000 in grants will fund professional development courses for teachers, supplies for students and pay at least one special education teacher's salary for a year.

Work must be finished by the end of June, under the terms of the grant, so construction will continue all the way through this school year.

Boyan said District 4 is grateful to receive the grant.

"It's exciting to see any type of improvements to the school environment, especially in this economic climate," she said.