D204 could move program for young adults with disabilities to Naperville office building this fall – Chicago Tribune
Students in the Indian Prairie School District 204’s STEPS program could be moving from an overcrowded high school building to a space of their own in an office complex near Mill Street and Interstate 88.
But STEPS can’t relocate until the city of Naperville signs off on allowing District 204 to operate a school in a building at 387 Shuman Blvd., which is zoned for office, research and light industrial businesses.
The request will go to the Planning and Zoning Commission at 7 pm Wednesday before heading to the Naperville City Council likely Aug. 16.
If approved, the move to the new school would occur in the 2022-23 academic year.
District 204 proposes occupying 21,900 square feet on the first floor of the three-story, multitenant building for the program formally known as Supportive Training Experience Post-Secondary. It’s a transition program for young adults ages 18-22 with special needs who are taught skills for living independently after high school.
For the last several years STEPS has been housed at the Birkett Freshman Center at Neuqua Valley High School.
Indian Prairie is looking to relocate because of overcrowding issues and incompatibility at the high school.
In the past, parents also have argued their young adult children need their own space, rather than returning to a high school where many just graduated.
District 204 estimates 120 young adults and 55 staff would make the move to the office park this fall.
The young people are supported by teachers, teaching assistants and the services provided by physical and occupational therapists and speech pathologists.
The program will occupy nearly all the east side of the building so the effect on tenants in the rest of the building should be minimal, district officials said.
Parking should be more than adequate, the district said, since staff are the only ones to arrive by car.
Students arrive in about 20 buses, and Indian Prairie says the current time for bus drop-off is less than 10 minutes.
During the day, some students will leave for job sites or for locations where they or participate in Y or fitness volunteer programs. They return before program dismissal at 1:45 pm
STEPS follows the District 204 school calendar year. In the summer, programs are offered from mid-June through mid-July, District 204 documents filed with the city show.
The city’s land use master plan identifies possible future uses of the property as an employment center.
In a memo to the Planning and Zoning Commission, community planner Sara Kopinski, who is with the city’s Transportation, Engineering and Development department, said staff finds the STEPS program to be compatible with this designation since schools and religious institutions are identified as supporting uses.
Also, she said the majority of the building will continue to be used for professional and medical offices.