Virginia Institute of Autism opening innovative building in Charlottesville
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia Institute of Autism is opening a brand new space in Charlottesville. VIA finally has a building fit to achieve their goals of helping students with autism excel.
“The whole space was really designed with the idea of trying to help people enter adulthood and be more successful, more independent, get jobs and enjoy our community,” VIA CEO and President Ethan Long said.
The plan started around three years ago, according to Long. COVID-19 caused some delays, but also helped VIA realize they needed this space now more than ever.
“We had all of our student population over at the Westwood campus,” Long said. “And so we had elementary students along with high school students, and so it was very tight, crowded. This building is really allowing us to grow and it allows for our high schoolers and our adults to really be in a space that’s designed for them.”
This will be a first of its kind building, unique in form and function.
“By having 23,000 more square footage, I mean, just that alone allows us to physically distance more, be able to be safer,” Long said. “The great thing about this though is that the space is really designed to help address the needs of the people we serve.”
These needs are for classrooms learning, but also for students to practice real world jobs.
“They’re able to do, you know, things like, you know, working in the cafe, working in the kitchen and really helping learning environments that bring out the best in what they’re able to do,” Long said. “And to see them be successful it’s just been a pleasure.”
The grand opening is set for September 28, as of now. The event will be socially distant and safe. It will feature a ribbon cutting and tours of the new building.
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