Special needs school in Fresno welcomes renovations

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Special needs children in Fresno will soon be getting a modernized and safer school.

Major renovations are underway at Addicott Elementary School which serves the district's most dependent students.

Students from Addicott play outside in their temporary facility at Mclane High School. The students are spending the year there while their campus is undergoing major construction.

""We're so happy and proud of where we are," Co-director of Special Education Marrio Walker said. "We're coming to the end of our modernization efforts."

Fresno Unified has launched a more than $2.5 million project at Addicott all thanks to Measure Q. The school hosts nearly 50 severely disabled students and is badly in need of more handicap-accessible walkways and safety features.

Principal Katrina Pleshe says the school will go from feeling like a hospital to a colorful school.

"You're going to definitely see bean bag chairs you're going to see lights, opportunities for touch and to feel things," she said.

Nearly all of the students don't speak. Addicot will have expanded sensory walls and gross motor areas so the students can expand their skills.

"So that means in the classroom you're going to see communication devices," Pleshe said. "You might see buttons for kids to touch that will simulate a hello or goodbye or gestures"

School officials say the site will be safer. The campus will be gated and security doors will guard the front office.

Cindy Garcia, whose 9-year-old daughter Samantha attends the school, says she feels comforted knowing her child will soon have a safe, stimulating place to go to school.

"For them to have everything they need in life to get around from equipment, playground being shaded its amazing that this is happening," Garcia said.

Construction of Addicott is expected to be completed by July 15.
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