New School Groundbreaking

Melmark And Bancroft Construction Break Ground On New School Facility

November 11, 2020 / Berwyn, PA


Melmark has partnered with Bancroft Construction to construct a new school facility at its service division in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. Groundbreaking for the new building, which will provide state-of-the-art and fully accessible learning and working environments, took place on Wednesday, October 14th. Construction of Melmark’s new school is expected to be complete by the start of the 2021 academic year and will allow the organization to increase census, providing services to more families in need. The School’s ultimate goal is to provide best outcomes for its students. 


“This new school building will provide the best possible environment and cutting edge tools for learning and skills growth, helping children who need and deserve Melmark’s specialized special education services reach their best outcomes,” said Rita M. Gardner, M.P.H., LABA, BCBA, Melmark President and CEO.


The Melmark School is an approved private special education school, licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and specializing in serving students, ages five to 21, 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 65,000 square foot, two-story structure designed to meet the accessibility needs of the student population as well as ADA requirements. The first two floors will have grade-level access to classrooms and other resources. The new building will adjoin Melmark’s current school building and will include 20 classrooms, clinical support spaces, offices, fully accessible restrooms, a lunchroom to provide more meaningful social interaction opportunities for students, and a professional development and training center as Melmark continues to emphasize a highly skilled workforce.


During the groundbreaking ceremony, Gardner spoke on the parallel between 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, “This new building emphasizes the resources at the point of care for the children and adults Melmark serves, who are at the heart of the organization’s mission.”


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


Due to the highly sensitive nature of the school population, Bancroft has taken and will continue to take great care to avoid any disruption to the school’s current operations. Maintaining a safe environment and accommodating all individuals’ needs is always Bancroft’s top priority, but is especially so amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic. Construction crews continue to adhere to all social distancing and virus mitigation measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During the COVID-19 pandemic, Melmark’s hyper-vigilant virus mitigation measures included following the state mandate to close in-person school programs in March of 2020. The Melmark School returned to in-person services on August 31st.