Cerebral Palsy League Gets Top Grades For New School Facility

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CRANFORD – The opening of a new school facility by the Cerebral Palsy League (CPL) in Cranford has drawn praise from the Cranford Chamber of Commerce and the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders for the league’s contribution to the community and services to its students.  The CPL operates the Jardine Academy, a specialized school serving children with multiple disabilities.

The Pride in Cranford committee of the Cranford Chamber of Commerce recently honored the CPL with a Community Development Award, which is presented to businesses that have developed or remodeled exterior commercial properties within the last two years in a manner consistent with Cranford’s heritage.  The award was presented at the chamber’s 49th Annual Pride in Cranford Awards dinner October 21.

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In addition, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders passed a resolution praising the CPL and Jardine Academy for the grand opening of the new facility; the Jardine Academy’s status as the only New Jersey school serving children with developmental disabilities that is a Model Site of MOVE® (Mobility Opportunities Via Education) International, the renowned mobility program for children and adults with physical disabilities; and for the impact the Jardine Academy has on its students and their families.

The new school facility provides students with multiple disabilities from age 3 to 21 with a continuum of educational services in an enhanced learning environment, including state-of-the-art technology and mobility training programs, modernized classrooms and an expanded therapy suite.

In addition, the new building will help reduce tuition costs by up to 10 percent for 27 school districts in four counties that send students to the CPL through improved utilization of resources.  The facility allowed the CPL to combine the operations of its Cranford and Union campuses into one location.

The new facility opened September 10 in time for 2009-2010 classes, just three months after the building was secured and retrofitting work began.  The accelerated schedule and the project’s completion on time and on budget earned praise from representatives of the educational, government and business communities.

“We wanted the school to open in September so we were on an extremely tight schedule,” said Debra Wolfel, CPL executive director.  “Not only did we want the school to open but we wanted it to be the most motivating learning environment.  We worked very closely with Redco Engineering and in particular with architect Robert Martinez.  Roberto helped us to architecturally address all of the needs of the students.”

The new facility boasts an accessible back stage area complete with a ramp leading to the auditorium stage.  Each classroom has a specially designed bathroom to accommodate the unique physical challenges of the students.
Most impressive is the “Main Street,” comprising stimulating learning centers, an accessible library, Wellness Center, wheelchair-friendly Fitness Center and more, all providing a motivating backdrop for life skill instruction.

“Each day we ask our students to reach a little further and try a little harder in order to help them attain new heights.  We felt we had to do the same.  This new facility allows us to provide the education and support services our students deserve in a wonderful new environment,” Wolfel said.


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