Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Celebrates Opening of Bergen County Special Services Educational Facility and BCSS/BCTS Administrative Offices
The opening of the Bergen County Special Services Educational Facility and the Administrative Offices of the Bergen County Technical and Special Services School District was celebrated with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on November 9 at the facility’s location at 296 East Ridgewood Avenue in Paramus.“It’s so fabulous and it’s new,” the 12-year-old Mahwah boy said Monday following a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the $45 million state-of-the-art facility that serves to centralize the Bergen County Technical and Special Services School District.
The ceremony began with the Pledge of Allegiance led by a student from New Bridges Middle School and two adults from the district’s Adult Day programs, followed by a performance of God Bless America by the New Bridges Chorus. Dr. Howard Lerner, Superintendent of the Bergen County Technical and Special Services School District, welcomed the assembled guests, recognizing all those who played a significant role in the creation of the new facility, including the current and former County Executive, members of the Freeholder Board and Boards of Education, as well as the architecture, construction management, and building firms, the district’s Business Administrator, and staff members.
In speaking about the many expanded services and opportunities that the Educational Facility offers to students with disabilities, Dr. Lerner reiterated the District’s mission: “We are ever mindful that at the core of our purpose is the provision of outstanding services to children and adults with disabilities. This state-of-the-art educational facility and the dedicated people who work within it speak to this mission that we hold so dear.”
“Every student has the right to learn in an environment that supports them and helps them achieve,” said County Executive James J. Tedesco III in his remarks to the audience. “Now with this new building, Bergen County students in the Special Services School District will attend a middle and high school learning environment specially designed for the way they learn, rather than retrofitted to accommodate them. As these students reach adulthood, this school will continue to be a resource, supporting Post 21 programs to ensure that adults with intellectual, emotional, or physical challenges have the opportunity to live and work with independence.”
Among the invited speakers was Freeholder Chairwoman Joan Voss, who spoke movingly of her commitment to this new education center as the mother of an adult son with Autism Spectrum Disorder. “Helping those with special needs has been a passion of mine for years as a parent, educator, and in public office. This new, state of the art school will centralize many of Bergen County’s programs under one roof, providing our students with continuity and even more opportunity to learn, achieve, and grow. This is a very exciting day for Bergen County and upholds our commitment to providing educational and vocational opportunities to those with special needs, and I’d like to thank Dr. Lerner and everyone who helped bring this to fruition.”
Chasen Brown, an adult from Teaneck attending the Careers Through Technology Program, and Brian Ramos, a student from Maywood who attends New Bridges High School, also addressed the guests and joined the Superintendent and dignitaries in the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon.
The 120,000-square-foot Educational Facility welcomed students attending the New Bridges Middle/High School programs for students with autism spectrum disorder, as well as adult clients attending vocational programs and Post 21 services, in September 2015. The administrative wing of the complex includes the Superintendent’s office; the Business office; the Bergen County Special Services CAPE Resource Center; the Educational Enterprises Division, which provides services to students in their local school districts; and the District’s Board of Education Meeting Room.
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