PLYMOUTH - Town leaders joined EdAdvance for a ribbon cutting on the new Partnership Learning Academy in the former Main Street School Building. Set to open in a month, the building will act as a regional special education service center with academic courses and behavioral therapy offered to K to 5 elementary school students.
Jeff Kitching, executive director of EdAdvance, which is a nonprofit regional education service center, took Mayor David Merchant, EdAdvance board members and other visitors on a tour of the three-story, 33,000-square-foot building. The newer section, from the 1960s, is where the students will ultimately be and where Kitching took the tour to show off renovations. He said the older section, built in the 1930s, could potentially be used for office spaces in the future. He pointed out new flooring, HVAC systems and walls painted brightly with blues, greens and purples. He also took the tour into a classroom area and the renovated gym.
Merchant said the renovated building was “remarkable.” He praised EdAdvance for their efforts.
“I admire how much you can get done since we closed on this earlier this year,” he said. “What you have accomplished is nothing short of amazing. This will be a tremendous asset and our community, as well as Bristol, Plainville, and surrounding towns are over the top excited about it. Thank you for everything you’ve done for our town.”
Kitching thanked all of those who helped to make the Partnership Learning Academy a reality, praising the town for helping to move the process along smoothly. He also thanked Thomaston Savings Bank for understanding EdAdvance’s objective and helping them to finance the remodeling. Kitching praised the work that the contractors have completed; pointing out that interior construction is mostly complete, aside from some plumbing in the bathrooms. He said they will also be doing outside beautification, including re-paving the parking lot.
“Everything is almost done,” he said. “We’re just waiting for kids to show up.”
Kitching said the academy will seek to develop partnerships with local school systems to provide them with high-quality programs that better meet the needs of special needs students.
“We want to work with parents and the school district to bring kids into our program and then get them back to their public schools as soon as possible,” he said. “Our behavioral analysts and therapists will help them to modulate and change their behaviors while we maintain an academic rigor so that they don’t fall behind.”
Kitching added that EdAdvance may consider offering a preschool component in the future if the space is available.
In attendance at the ribbon cutting was the principal of the Partnership Learning Academy, Scott Rossignol.
“I’m thrilled to be here; EdAdvance is looking to do great work and I can’t wait to partner with neighboring districts,” he said.
Prior to accepting the job as principal of the Partnership Learning Academy, Rossignol was the director of special education services in regional school district 13, which includes part of Durham and Middlefield. Prior to that, he was supervisor for special education services in Farmington and Avon. Rossignol got his start in school systems as a psychologist at an elementary school.
EdAdvance proposed purchasing the former Main Street School building for $400,000 and renovating it into a center to service the needs of special education students back in March. During that meeting, Kitching said the building will service 20 to 25 students initially, and that it may grow to 35 or 40 students as the space is renovated. The sale was approved by the Town Council in April and the town also approved a $50,000 economic development grant to assist with the project. The work was done by Premier Building Associates.