By Jason KUROSU
he new College View campus was unveiled Tuesday afternoon with a ribbon cutting ceremony that officially opened the school’s doors to the public after over a year of construction.
Parents and students were introduced to the new facility and encouraged to tour the building, which features numerous amenities to aid the school’s special needs students, including a therapy gym, multipurpose room, instructional kitchen, laundry room and an indoor pool.
College View’s 70 students spent the last two school years attending class at Jewel City Community Day School in Glendale, but will start the 2015-16 school year in a newly renovated, $26 million, Measure S funded facility.
College View principal Jay Schwartz, who is entering her ninth year as the school’s principal, said that the new building’s classrooms are much bigger than the previous campus, and that the overall design of the campus provides better opportunities for special needs students to transition into mainstream schools.
“Our understanding of what special needs children needed in 1977 (when College View first opened) is very different than what we have now,” said Schwartz, who noted that the old campus did not even have classroom doors, keeping the students from having to learn how to open them.
Schwartz and other members of the education community commended the collective effort that went toward the new campus’ creation.
Alan Reising, GUSD administrator of Facilities Planning, Development & Support Operations, said construction started in March 2014 and “17 months later, we had this beautiful building behind us to show for a lot of effort, a lot of work.”
GUSD Board of Education President Christine Walters called the building a result of “vision, commitment and gratitude.”
Walters said the community’s willingness to vote in favor of the Measure S bond was a major contribution and representative of local priorities favoring education.
“We believe that every child is important and every child should be educated in the way that serves them best. We really need to recognize and be thankful that we can pass a bond like Measure S and take a huge chunk of that and spend it on a place like this because this is a community of caring and understanding of all of our children’s needs,” said Walters.
Dr. Amy Lambert, assistant superintendent of Special Education, said that the new building would be an exciting next chapter for College View in an already great legacy.
“Even after the building became outdated and presented challenges, staff worked hard to adjust and provide and figure out how to deliver an exceptional program that didn’t just meet a student’s needs, but in many, many instances helped students move beyond what first appeared possible,” said Lambert.
“It’s the overarching belief that all students can learn and grow and hopefully move beyond this campus. That’s what makes College View school such an amazing place. Overcoming challenges is part of our ongoing work at College View, but fortunately, overcoming the challenges of the facility is no longer going to be part of that. In fact, this amazing facility has given us the opportunity to enhance our programs in many, many ways.”
Amy Rogers, president of the College View School Parent Teacher Association, said her family is “incredibly excited about College View’s new building.”
Rogers’ 11-year-old son Soren has been attending College View since he was three years old.
“College View has always had an amazing program for students with special needs. But the old building, which was built back in the ’70s, was no longer suitable for the needs of these students,” said Rogers. “This new building incorporates all of the progress and advances that have been made for people with cognitive and physical disabilities. We can’t wait for school to start next week!”