District 211 buys its new special education building

  • Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 board members Thursday voted to purchase the Higgins Educational Center in Hoffman Estates, which now houses several of the district's special education programs under one roof.

      Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 board members Thursday voted to purchase the Higgins Educational Center in Hoffman Estates, which now houses several of the district's special education programs under one roof. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted9/18/2015 5:40 AM

Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 board members voted unanimously Thursday to buy the district's newly opened Higgins Education Center next to Hoffman Estates High School for $1.51 million.

The 26,000-square-foot building began housing most of the district's special education programs under one roof late last month.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Peter Dombrowski, one of the school board's new members, said he approved of this purchase but that he'd like the district to have a tighter policy on property acquisition for future decisions.

"I'm in support of the Higgins Education Center," Dombrowski said. "I think it's an excellent move on the part of the administration."

The district began leasing the former Barrington Orthopedic building a year ago, renovating it for the use of students and recent graduates who have special needs.

From the start, the district had the choice of leasing or buying the building, with the cost of either option increasing each year.

But by purchasing the building now, the cost will be only as much as to lease it for about 6½ more years, district officials said.

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The Higgins Education Center opened with 110 students, but can serve up to 150.

The programs now hosted there include District 211's Adult Transition Program, Academy-South alternative school and the New Endeavors program which serves students with autism.

The Adult Transitions Program helps graduates of the district with mild and moderate cognitive impairments continue building their life skills through the age of 22. It was previously headquartered in a pair of trailers in the Hoffman Estates High School parking lot and at a leased facility outside the district.

The Academy-South program serves high school students with social and emotional challenges.

Most students in the New Endeavors program are moving back in district from either the Northwest Special Education District's Miner School program in Arlington Heights or a private therapeutic day school.

The building soon will host evening educational and social service programs as well for all residents of District 211 and Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54.

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