LEXINGTON, Ky. – When the Lexington Hearing & Speech Center began planning for a much needed expansion of its facilities and services, the non-profit organization thought it would have to build a brand new building. But when the old Julia R. Ewan Elementary School came back on the market, board chairman King Offutt says the center seized the opportunity.
"You know the acquisition of this building, it is a big building, but I think we'll grow into it. We've got a lot of great plans. Our staff is super excited. The parents of the kids that we serve are super excited."
One of the plans includes launching a therapeutic pre-school for autistic children. Offutt says the autism school would be a first for Lexington.
"In talking with parents in the community with children with a variety of autism spectrum disorders, there is no good system for them. Their child might be in public school, and then after that they go to ABA therapy in one place, and then they go to occupational therapy somewhere else, and they have a sensory therapy program somewhere else. But none of those programs are working really collectively with one another."
Offutt says the center is continuing an ambitious capital campaign to raise money for the project. The Lexington Hearing & Speech Center will purchase the former Ewan Elementary School for $1.6 million after plans by Vineyard Community Church to buy the property fell through. An additional $750,000 dollars is needed to update the building so it can be ready to treat children with speech and language delays and disorders.