Melmark and Swinerton Builders Break Ground on New Special Education School Facility

Melmark and Swinerton Builders Break Ground on New Special Education School Facility


Melmark and Swinerton Builders Break Ground on New Special Education School Facility

[Charlotte, NC] Melmark has partnered with Swinerton Builders and Ossa Design Studio to design and build a new school facility at its service division in Charlotte, North Carolina. Groundbreaking for the school building, which will provide state-of-the-art and fully accessible learning and working environments, took place on Tuesday, December 6. Construction of Melmark’s new school is expected to be complete by the spring of 2023 and will allow the organization to increase census from 22 to 72, providing opportunities for school districts, students, and families in need of clinically sophisticated services. The new school building will also increase job opportunities for those seeking to work with highly skilled leaders in special education.


“Over the past five years we have been proud to serve students in this region. We have partnered with school professionals, families, and other stakeholders to share information about the highly specialized special education programming Melmark is renowned for. There is a steady, growing need for our services and this new school building will support spacious, well-designed classroom environments with innovative tools for learning and skills building. This growth in NC reflects our mission and strategic goal to serve children in diverse and inclusive communities who need and deserve Melmark’s specialized special education services to reach their best outcomes,” said Rita M. Gardner, M.P.H., LABA, BCBA, CDE® Melmark President and CEO.


The Melmark School is a Department of Public Instruction (DPI) approved Exceptional Children’s Program specialized in serving students, ages five to 22, who require an intensive, individualized educational approach with a behavioral framework designed in an educationally appropriate learning environment. Students who attend the Melmark School have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders and other intellectual and developmental disabilities, which may be secondary to complex behavioral profiles.


The new building will be a 31,000 square foot, one-story structure designed to meet the student population’s accessibility needs and ADA requirements. The new building will provide grade-level access to classrooms and other resources in 14 classrooms, clinical support spaces, offices, and fully accessible restrooms. A lunchroom will provide more meaningful social interaction opportunities for students, and offer a larger space for professional development and training as Melmark continues to emphasize a highly skilled workforce.


During the groundbreaking ceremony, Gardner thanked the generous donors bolstering the organization’s financial commitment to this new building and the gold standard Melmark is known for in the field of evidence-based special education services. “This project recognizes that the exceptional quality of Melmark’s special education programs must be matched with a similar quality school environment,” said Gardner. She added, “It recognizes that resources at the point of care for the children and adults Melmark serves is at the heart of the organization’s mission. We believe every child has a right to their Free and Appropriate Public Education and we are extraordinarily proud to provide exceptional educational services for both North and South Carolina children.”


The school is being constructed through philanthropic support, with donations from families, corporate partners, foundations, event proceeds, and other major donations. For information about supporting the project, contact advancementops@melmark.org.


Melmark is a not-for-profit organization providing clinically sophisticated evidence-based special education, residential, vocational and therapeutic services for children and adults with autism spectrum disorders, developmental and intellectual disabilities, acquired brain injuries and other neurological and genetic disorders. All specialized special education services are based on the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and are designed based on each student’s individual needs.


Recognized as one of the leading providers in the country, Melmark has a combined staff of over 1,200 at its service divisions in Pennsylvania, New England, and the Carolinas and serves 1,000 individuals from across the country. To learn more, visit www.melmark.org.


Ossa Design Studio is a multidisciplinary design firm providing services with contractors to create impactful experiences through design. Visit www.ossastudio.com for more information.

Swinerton provides commercial construction and construction management services throughout the United States. Founded in 1888, Swinerton is 100% employee-owned and is the preferred builder and trusted partner in every market it serves—proudly leading with integrity, passion, and excellence. Swinerton is headquartered in Concord, CA with regional offices in Spokane and Seattle, WA; Portland, OR; Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, and San Diego, CA; Honolulu, HI; Denver, CO; Dallas and Austin, TX; Atlanta, GA; Charlotte and Raleigh, NC; and New York City, NY. Visit www.swinerton.com for more information.


If you would like more information, please contact Karon Mattox at kmattox@melmark.org.