AERO opened its new school last week in Burbank. (Supplied photos)
AERO opens new facility in Burbank
By Bob Bong
When Queen of Peace High School in Burbank announced it was closing in 2018, the good folks at AERO special education co-op saw a golden opportunity.
They purchased the school’s 13-acre site at 7659 S. Linder Ave. in August 2019 for $3.2 million. The plan was to retrofit the high school for use by the hundreds of special needs students that AERO serves.
That didn’t pan out. Refitting the school was determined to be too expensive. So, the plan was changed to demolish the high school building and build a new campus specifically for special needs students.
All that work came to fruition last week when AERO opened its new campus in Burbank after a three-year construction project and a $50 million pricetag.
“It’s amazing,” said AERO Executive Director Bill Roseland on Monday. “It’s a game changer.”
The co-op includes 11 school districts from Lyons, Stickney and Worth townships and programs for AERO’s hundreds of special needs students had been everywhere throughout the district.
“We had programs spread out over those 11 districts,” Roseland said. “Now they are all held in the same building. That makes a big difference for the staff and especially the students.”
The new building is 150,000 square feet and is centrally located among the 11 districts at 5400 W. 77th St. in Burbank.
“The new building is wonderful,” said Roseland who took over as executive director a year ago. “Parents that have been here have been impressed.”
Roseland said there was a lot of input into the project so the building would meet the needs of its students.
He was also impressed by the cooperation that paved the way for the new building.
“What happened here is really rare,” he said. “This kind of cooperation doesn’t exist anywhere else in Illinois. Superintendents from 11 districts got together and worked together to get this project off the ground. The way they stepped up and made servicing the students was truly inspiring.”
Roseland said the $50 million cost was divided between the co-op and the state.
“The 11 districts contributed $25 million and a state grant from Governor Pritzker took care of the other $25 million,” he said.
He said AERO can accommodate up to 450 students, there are about 400 enrolled now. Another 350 students receive related therapies.
Roseland said the building would be a lasting legacy to everyone who worked to get it done.
“This building will be here long after we are all gone,” he said.
AERO not only includes classrooms, but state-of-the-art life and commercial life skills and home life skills training areas.
The name derives from four high schools that help make-up the co-op: Argo, Evergreen Park, Reavis and Oak Lawn.
Other districts that belong to the co-op include Summit District 104, Evergreen Park District 124, Willow Springs District 108, Indian Springs District 109, Central Stickney District 110, Burbank District 111, and Ridgeland District 122.
Neighbors lighting the way to Christmas season
Spread the love. By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 517-7796 . It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere me and Oliver go! Thank you, neighbors. The blocks around my home are simply beautiful with the displays. To get yourselves more in…
Hanukkah, a holiday of happiness and peace
Spread the love. By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 . Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate the rededication of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C. and the miracle of the temple lights lasting eight days with just one day’s supply of oil. Hanukkah is…
Palos Heights celebrates holiday season at Kris Kringle Market
Spread the loveBy Kelly White The Palos Heights community welcomed in the Christmas season by showcasing its small-town charm and holiday cheer this past weekend. Residents from Palos Heights, along with those from surrounding communities, came out to celebrate the Holidays in the Heights at the city’s Kris Kringle Market on December 1 and December…
College Report | SXU football falls in quarterfinals
Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Staff Writer For three quarters, Saint Xavier went nearly toe-to-toe with the No. 1-ranked football team in the nation. Justin Pringle had returned a kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown to bring the Cougars to within three points of Northwestern (Iowa), the top-seeded team in the NAIA playoffs and the…
Area Sports Roundup | Richards grad Sean Lewis ready to air it out in San Diego
Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The rollercoaster ride continues for Sean Lewis. The Richards alum went from being the head coach at Kent State to the offensive coordinator at Colorado, one of the most talked about college football programs in the country this season because of Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders. He was…
Girls Hoops | Sandburg and Oak Lawn to host holiday tournaments
Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The field has been finalized for the third Sandburg Holiday Classic, which is the only girls basketball holiday tournament in the area to feature 16 teams. The host Eagles will be joined in the event, to be held Dec. 27-29, by area teams Oak Lawn, Richards, Argo and…
Get ready to tighten those belts
Spread the love. By Rich Miller . The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget released a revised state revenue and spending forecast last month for the current fiscal year and it’s pretty good. Its projections for next fiscal year, however, were not nearly as strong. Projected Fiscal Year 2024 revenues have been revised upward by…
Unique, cheerful, local crafts at Hale Park
Spread the love. By Tim Hadac Editor Clear-Ridge Reporter & NewsHound . I’ve never been one to decorate for Christmas, just for the sake of decorating. And I’m not a fan of many of the things we see these days. I’ll take a pass on Christmas decorations that involve images of celebrities, pro sports logos,…
Keeping fighters flying
Spread the love Garfield Ridge native Brandon Tapia recently graduated from U.S. Air Force Basic Military Training with honors – a recognition earned by only the top 10% of each class. After Air Force BMT, airmen begin technical training to learn the technical skills needed to perform in their career field specialties. The field Tapia…
Offer cash reward in Chrysler Village slaying
Spread the love. By Tim Hadac . Someone somewhere knows who shot and killed Misael Sanchez. To help bring that person forward, the Cook County Crime Stoppers group is offering a cash reward of up to $15,000 for information leading to the killer’s arrest. Sanchez, 23, was shot in the 5200 block of West 64th…
Dolly Parton Imagination Library officially launches statewide in Illinois
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois firstname.lastname@example.org SPRINGFIELD – Illinois families with infants and toddlers now have access to free children’s books that can be sent directly to their home, regardless of their income. Gov. JB Pritzker on Tuesday announced the official launch of the state’s partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a program founded…
What to know about Illinois’ assault weapons ban
By ANDREW ADAMS Capitol News Illinois email@example.com Gun owners face a Jan. 1 deadline to register their assault weapons with the state under Illinois’ assault weapons law. But between lawsuits and ongoing policymaking, the exact guns, accessories and ammunition covered under the Protect Illinois Communities Act remain unclear to many gun rights advocates, who point…
Capitol Cast: Filing Day for 2024 primary brings frigid temps and election themes to Springfield
Capitol News Illinois Broadcast Director Jennifer Fuller talks with Editor-in-Chief Jerry Nowicki about the 2023 petition filing deadline for Illinois’ 2024 primary election. Capitol News Illinois · Capitol Cast: Filing Day for 2024 primary brings frigid temps and election themes to Springfield
Supreme Court rules teen bicyclist is covered by father’s auto insurance policy
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois firstname.lastname@example.org SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Supreme Court ruled Thursday that automobile insurance policies must cover people against uninsured motorists and hit-and-run accidents, even if the person covered by the policy is not in a vehicle at the time of the accident. The case involved a 14-year-old Chicago boy, Cristopher…
State high court finds medical personnel exemption to biometric information privacy law
By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois email@example.com The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday ruled the state’s strongest-in-the-nation biometric information privacy law does have an exemption: health care workers who use fingerprints or similar scans to access things like medication, materials or patient health information. In a unanimous opinion, the justices ruled against a pair of…
Illinois Supreme Court: FOID records exempt from public disclosure
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois firstname.lastname@example.org SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Supreme Court ruled Thursday that people may obtain records about their own Firearm Owners Identification cards, but they may not use the state’s Freedom of Information Act to do so. In a 7-0 ruling, the court said the Illinois State Police acted properly when…
Temporary staffing agencies seek to block new state labor law
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois email@example.com SPRINGFIELD – A group of temporary staffing agencies and their trade associations are asking a federal court to block enforcement of a new state law that governs how day laborers and temp workers are managed and paid. The lawsuit, filed earlier this month in Chicago, challenges several changes…
Former GOP senator, third-party governor candidate to represent himself in corruption trial
By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois firstname.lastname@example.org SPRINGFIELD – Monday was supposed to have been the first day in the weeklong federal corruption trial of former Republican state Sen. Sam McCann, who allegedly misused more than $200,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses. A pull-down projector screen in the Springfield courtroom of U.S. District Judge…
Candidates for 2024 primary brave cold for potential ballot advantage
By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois email@example.com SPRINGFIELD – Monday marked the kickoff for the 2024 election cycle, with hundreds of candidates filing their petitions at the Illinois State Board of Elections. Those in line by 8 a.m. Monday at the ISBE building in Springfield will be entered into a lottery to be the first…
State high court to hear case against staffing agencies accused of suppressing wages
By HANNAH MEISEL & DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois firstname.lastname@example.org The Illinois Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear arguments from three staffing agencies that say their industry is exempt from state antitrust laws in a case claiming the firms conspired to hold down wages for their workers. The Chicagoland-based companies have already lost twice in…