Bergen County Special Services and Technical Schools District broke ground on their new facility on Ridgewood Avenue on Wednesday.
District staff and local politicians attended, some with shovels in hand, for the long-awaited ceremony.
“This is a win, win, win for everybody,” said County Executive Kathleen Donovan. “The adults we serve will be in a brand new facility, they’re going to be centrally located, which will cut down on transportation costs and the people of Paramus will benefit by not having a juvenile jail or dilapidated building in their midst.”
Bergen County Special Services and Technical Schools currently have services spread out across the county and are renting temporary facilities. This is expected to save millions in the coming years in rental and transportation costs.
“After this opens we’re going to save over a million dollars each year in leases that we no longer need. There’s really no bad in this,” added Donovan.
According to the district superintendent, Howard Lerner, the new building will be approximately 120,000 square feet and will house three separate areas.
One section of the building will house the entire administration, about 120 staff members. The middle section of the building will be for adults with disabilities and the third section will hold middle school and high school students with autism. Elementary students with autism are located directly across Ridgewood Avenue in a separate building.
Roughly 300 students will be educated on a regular basis when the facility is fully operational.
“We are absolutely thrilled. This has been a great collaboration between Bergen County Special Services, the County Executive and the Freeholder Board. It’s going to centralize our programs,” said Lerner.
“This will save us a minimum of $700,000 in its first year in rentals alone. This will also centralize everything and will save us and local districts money on transportation,” added Lerner.
According to Donovan, the building of the school is expected to create hundreds of “good paying” construction jobs over the next year or two.