Open house set for Oakland Ed Center on Monday

By Heidi J. Venem

Special Education Supervisor

Austin and Albert Lea have joined together to create a new educational site for students with unique needs.

The name of the cooperative is the Austin Albert Lea Area Special Education Cooperative (AALASEC). The name of the new building is called the Oakland Education Center and it is located at 2001 Second Ave. NW in Austin. This building was formerly known as the Corcoran Center.

The Oakland Education Center began serving students at this site on Jan. 4. There are currently 50 students enrolled in the building. The Austin and Albert Lea students were previously being served in the Austin High School annex building and the lower level of Neveln Elementary school.

Districts are required to provide a continuum of alternate services and placements for enrolled students. The two districts joined together so that they could provide appropriate services to students with high level programming needs. By joining forces, the districts can provide the specialized services these students require in an efficient and cost effective manner. This site is considered a federal Setting Four educational program, and it also provides Children’s Therapeutic Services and Supports (CTSS). Besides having access to grade level standards, students at the Oakland Education Center also have access to speech and language services, adaptive physical education, mental health services, and occupational and physical therapy.

The vision of AALASEC is that we will provide new skills to students so that they are prepared to return to a less restrictive environment in their home school district. Students who are eligible to participate in sports will be able to play in their home districts.

Upon graduation, students will return to their home districts to participate in graduation ceremonies.

Please join us on Monday, Feb. 13, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. followed by an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. You will be able to tour the facility; seeing instructional classrooms, the gym, kitchen, life skills lab, office area, and conference room.

Oakland Education Center staff and district administrators will be available to answer questions about the new facility. Contractors will be on site to discuss how the project came along.

We will have a slideshow in each of the classrooms and in the gym of the project from start to finish. Light refreshments will be served in the cafeteria.

Tours are 4 to 7 p.m.

The public is invited to tour the new Oakland Education Center from 4 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 13, at 2001 Second Ave. NW. A ribbon cutting will be held at 4 p.m., and tours will be on-going until 7 p.m.

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