Updated: April 06, 2021 05:30 PM
Created: April 06, 2021 04:39 PM
(ABC 6 News) - The students and staff of the Zumbro Education District (ZED) have been waiting for a new building for nearly 30 years. Now, it's finally approved. It's a new $16 million building right alongside Kasson-Mantorville Public Schools.
It's what will happen inside this building that the local school leaders said is critically important.
Right now, ZED has three locations in Byron, and ZED Executive Director Patrick Gordon said their current setup is just not cutting it.
"ZED has never in its history had a newly constructed building from scratch. And the unique needs of our students - this building will really meet them in a 21st century way," Gordon said.
They are special needs students who will use the $16 million building. The price tag might seem high, especially for the taxpayers who are paying for it, but Gordon said it's about the average school building price. He said he believes it will be worth much more to the students who are often forgotten.
"These are K-12 students with some pretty severe cognitive and behavioral difficulties. And then within that program, there are students who need one-to-one paraprofessionals; they can be nonverbal, severe cognitive disorders," Gordon said.
The new building will include special features tailored to students' specific disabilities.
"They really need a space with high sensory spaces, different lighting, different spaces. Transitions- even leaving a room to another room is very difficult for these students," Gordon said.
The Kasson-Mantorville school district is one of the seven-member districts in ZED, and Mark Matuska, the district superintendent, said he is glad to have the building close to home.
"We're pretty excited. We anticipate three to four and a half million dollars in salaries that are going to be moving to town," Matuska said.
They are growing the school district and the community at the same time, and Matuska said he also hopes those coming to attend or work at the school will come to Kasson to stay.
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