Expansion, renovation of Children's Square Academic Center progresses

Steady progress has been made on the renovation and expansion of Children’s Square’s Academic Center. It is expected that construction will be completed this summer and that students will begin the school in August in the new building.

The Academic Center is a grades 1-12 school for students with behavioral, emotional and educational needs that can best be met in a specialized setting. Architectural and engineering services were provided by Schemmer Associates, Inc. The general contractor is Lund-Ross Constructors. Project Advocates serves as Children’s Square’s representatives.

“This is an exciting milestone for Christian Home Association-Children’s Square U.S.A. in that we are retaining the heart and history of one of two remaining original buildings while also significantly adapting it for contemporary purposes to better serve children,” said Carol Wood, Children’s Square’s president and CEO.

Dick Miller, campaign chair for the renovation and expansion for Children’s Square.

Dick Miller, campaign chair for the renovation and expansion for Children’s Square.

At the groundbreaking in October 2018, Council Bluffs Mayor Matt Walsh noted that Children’s Square has been helping the children of southwest Iowa and had changed over those years to better accommodate the changing needs.

“The new Academic Center is part of those changes,” he said at the time. “This renovation and expansion is the next step in recognizing the needs of children with special needs.”

The renovation and 3,200-square-foot expansion of the facility’s Academic Center is the second project funded by the Better Spaces, Brighter Futures Capital Campaign.

The first project was the construction of a new residential treatment complex. That complex, already in use, will be dedicated on Dec. 13 in conjunction with the 136th anniversary of Children’s Square’s founding.

The renovation and expansion of the Academic Center will transform one of two remaining original facilities on the campus.

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Built in 1913 to house nurses and teachers, this facility has served several purposes over the years, including administrative offices, adoption services as well as housing a multitude of other community based programs.

In 1991, a school program was developed in conjunction with the initiation of psychiatric residential treatment services for children and adolescents. Programming has evolved, with the school today meeting a broader community need.

The renovation and expansion will provide additional programming space, handicap accessibility, energy efficiency with new heating, cooling and lighting, storm shelter and additional bathrooms.

Source: The Daily Nonpareil

Jaime Hann