‘A long time coming’; SMEC prepares for $4.1 million education center project to offer more vital special ed programs next year
Students from seven school districts will soon have more of their needs met by being closer to home.
The Southern Minnesota Education Consortium (SMEC) released details surrounding the future $4.1 million education center project that would help continue to address the needs of students with special needs within the seven district cooperative, which include: Grand Meadow, Lyle, LeRoy-Ostrander, Southland, Kingsland, Alden-Conger and Glenville-Emmons.
For years, SMEC dreamed of having a center where programs that weren’t previously being offered to students could become accessible and becoming self-reliant and sufficient without having to rely on neighboring, larger school districts to provide programming.
Also with the closing of the Wykoff school in the Kingsland Schools District, the alternative learning center lost its home as well.
“The ability to have a level four program that was off-site has been missing for years,” said SMEC Executive Director Dan Armagost. “That led to us looking at the building project. … we were kind of homeless.”
With the approval of the $4.1 million education center, that will be built off of Interstate 90 and Highway 56, the seven districts can now offer more services that were previously hindered by space or by costs. The new 13,000 square-foot building will take care of two areas crucial to the co-op: an alternative learning center and the ability to offer level-four programming for students. The new center will fit about 18 level-four program students and between 40 to 50 alternative learning center students.