AERO opened its new school last week in Burbank. (Supplied photos)

AERO opened its new school last week in Burbank. (Supplied photos)

AERO opens new facility in Burbank

Spread the love
dvn AERO new building

A resource center room at the new AERO school 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.”

dvn four AERO mascots

Mascots of the four high schools that are part of the AERO special education cooperative.

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.

3 Comments

  1. Carol (Mauge) Baikie on September 22, 2023 at 12:38 pm

    As a 1968 graduate of Queen of Peace H.S. this very bittersweet time also makes my heart happy to see the joy this building is bringing to so many!!!
    Best Wishes and Love to a successful future.



  2. Marge (Wheaton) Primozic '71 on September 22, 2023 at 4:07 pm

    It is fitting that Queen of Peace paved the way for this wonderful building. Many wonderful things will be done here in the years to come.



  3. Jennifer Wilson on September 23, 2023 at 10:08 am

    QoP ‘92. So glad our home is providing as safe space to the students who need one.



Local News

Rich Miller

Pritzker turns thumbs down on Johnson demand

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Rich Miller . An oft-repeated $1.1 billion demand from Chicago’s mayor would actually wind up costing state taxpayers $5.5 billion. And Gov. JB Pritzker is turning a big thumbs down. Chicago Public Schools made the huge mistake of putting a ton of temporary federal pandemic aid into its permanent spending base…

A statue from a monument lies on the ground at Resurrection Cemetery in Justice. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

EF1 tornado barrels through Justice and Bridgeview

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Carol McGowan An EF1 tornado, packing winds of 90 miles per hour, swept through Justice and Bridgeview Monday night. Village of Justice Public Works Director Joe Cekus said he knew trouble was on the way. “I was looking in the sky for rotation and I heard a train,” he said. “I quickly…

Two pickup trucks in the 7400 block of Roberts Road in Bridgeview were destroyed by fire. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Bridgeview family loses two pickup trucks, but house is saved

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch A Bridgeview family in the 7400 block of Roberts Road knows first-hand the damage weather can do. When high winds hit around 9:30 p.m. Monday as a tornado blew through Justice, a cemetery and then into Bridgeview, two power lines were brought down near their bi-level house. One line fell…

Rihanna will open her first Savage X Fenty store in Illinois at Orland Square Mall on Friday. (Photo by Allie Baar)

Rihanna to open Savage X Fenty store in Orland Park on Friday

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Barbados superstar Rihanna will open her first Savage X Fenty store in Illinois on Friday morning in Orland Square Mall in Orland Park. The singer, actor and businesswoman will open the store at the mall’s lower level near the Coach store at 10 a.m. Savage X Fenty will host a…

The Village of Palos Park encouraged residents to unplug their devices for a day at part of Unplug Illinois on July 13. (Supplied photo)

Palos Park encourages residents to unplug

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White The Village of Palos Park encouraged residents to unplug their devices for a day at part of Unplug Illinois on Saturday, July 13. The day is a state-wide effort, started in 2014, to encourage everyone to “plug into” the amazing recreational opportunities offered by local park and recreation agencies. The…

Portillo's Hot Dogs (PRNewsFoto/Portillo's Hot Dogs)

Comings & Goings: Portillo’s coming to Orland Park

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva After the Orland Park Village Board voted Monday night to allow for a special use program, it set the wheels in motion for a Portillo’s Hot Dogs drive through to be built at 20 Orland Square Drive, the site of the shuttered Denny’s. It will be a 3,305-foot square building…

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said that pre-concert problems caused by the weather on July 13 are fixable.
(Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Mayor says Centennial Park West concert snafus ‘easily solvable’

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva The weather gods hit Orland Park’s Pat Benatar concert with their worst shot. A major storm took place July 13 when the event at the refurbished Centennial Park West was scheduled to open the gates. That caused a delay in opening the gates for 40 minutes which resulted in massive…

reporter worth welcome sign

Worth approves $590,000 for street repairs

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle A variety of projects ranging from street repairs and a new pump station for the golf course have been approved for the Village of Worth. A bid was awarded to Lindahl Brothers during the Worth Village Board meeting Tuesday night. Lindahl was the lowest bidder among four entries at $590,384.90 for future…

Funeral2

Obituaries July 18, 2024

Spread the love

Spread the lovePATRICIA MAE BRZOZOWSKI Patricia Mae Brzozowski, passed away suddenly at the age of 75. Loving sister of Paul (late Sarah), Felix (Angela) and the late Donald (late Virginia) Brzozowski; dear aunt of Michelle, Libby, Tracy, Karen, Don, Eddie and Michael. Visitation was held July 10 at the Richard-Midway Funeral Home, 5749 Archer Ave.…

CRR_NH

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound July 17, 2024

Spread the love

Spread the love

Neighbors

A look inside the RNC: Photos from Milwaukee

A look inside the RNC: Photos from Milwaukee

By ANDREW ADAMS  Capitol News Illinois aadams@capitolnewsillinois.com MILWAUKEE – The Republican National Convention officially wrapped up Thursday night with Donald Trump accepting the GOP nomination for president in 2024.  Throughout the week, Capitol News Illinois’ Andrew Adams was photographing the action, catching moments from the Illinois delegation and other attendees as well as key speeches. …

At national convention, Illinois’ beleaguered GOP portrays calm amid internal storm

At national convention, Illinois’ beleaguered GOP portrays calm amid internal storm

By PETER HANCOCK & HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com MILWAUKEE – Illinois Republicans appeared upbeat and optimistic as the GOP’s national convention got underway Monday, calling for unity and showing little sign of the internal party struggles that have been brewing for years. “Everybody’s got a lot of energy. We’re all really hopeful and…

State’s largest privately owned water utilities seek rate increase amid lawmaker scrutiny

State’s largest privately owned water utilities seek rate increase amid lawmaker scrutiny

By ANDREW ADAMS  Capitol News Illinois aadams@capitolnewsillinois.com The two largest privately owned water utilities in Illinois are seeking to raise rates for a combined 1.5 million customers around the state.  Illinois American Water, which serves 1.3 million people, is seeking a $152.4 million rate increase. That corresponds to a $24 per month increase in water…

On party infighting, Illinois’ new GOP chair says ‘start calling those people out’

On party infighting, Illinois’ new GOP chair says ‘start calling those people out’

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com MILWAUKEE – In the parlance of Washington D.C. Republican strategists, deep-blue Illinois is sometimes referred to as an “orphan” state – along with other Democratic strongholds like California, New York and Hawaii. In both 2016 and 2020, Donald Trump lost Illinois in the presidential election by 17 percentage…

After years of controversy, state pauses CO2 pipeline construction, for now

After years of controversy, state pauses CO2 pipeline construction, for now

By ANDREW ADAMS Capitol News Illinois aadams@capitolnewsillinois.com New safety requirements for carbon dioxide pipelines as well as a temporary ban on their construction are now in effect after Gov. JB Pritzker on Thursday signed a bill that passed the General Assembly earlier this year. The law issues new regulations for carbon capture and sequestration, a…

State GOP leaders pass the torch as national convention wraps up

State GOP leaders pass the torch as national convention wraps up

By PETER HANCOCK, HANNAH MEISEL & JERRY NOWICKI news@capitolnewsillinois.com MILWAUKEE – Illinois Republicans marked a changing of the guard Thursday morning as delegates met for breakfast ahead of the final day of the GOP national convention. State party Chair Don Tracy officially steps down this week after nearly 3 ½ years in that post, handing…

RNC Day 4 live updates from Capitol News Illinois, part 1

RNC Day 4 live updates from Capitol News Illinois, part 1

By PETER HANCOCK, HANNAH MEISEL ANDREW ADAMS & JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com MILWAUKEE – The CNI news team is on the scene for day four of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee. U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, of Peoria, and Ohio Senate candidate Bernie Moreno were the speakers at today’s Illinois delegation breakfast. Donald…

Sangamon County Sheriff’s deputy charged with first-degree murder

Sangamon County Sheriff’s deputy charged with first-degree murder

BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com A Springfield woman’s call for help ended with her death and the indictment of a Sangamon County Sheriff’s deputy on first-degree murder, aggravated battery with a firearm and official misconduct. Sonya Massey called police to investigate a prowler at her home in the 2800 block of Hoover Avenue near…

On party infighting, Illinois’ new GOP chair says ‘start calling those people out’

On party infighting, Illinois’ new GOP chair says ‘start calling those people out’

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com MILWAUKEE – In the parlance of Washington D.C. Republican strategists, deep-blue Illinois is sometimes referred to as an “orphan” state – along with other Democratic strongholds like California, New York and Hawaii. In both 2016 and 2020, Donald Trump lost Illinois in the presidential election by 17 percentage…

Amid heavy rainfall in southern Illinois, Nashville dam system breached; hundreds evacuated

Amid heavy rainfall in southern Illinois, Nashville dam system breached; hundreds evacuated

MOLLY PARKER & BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com Two days of heavy rainfall caused water to overflow and breach the dams of Nashville’s city reservoir on Tuesday, resulting in extensive flooding and the evacuation of about 200 people from their homes in the small southern Illinois town of about 3,000 residents. Initially described as…