A newly renovated Life Skills Suite at Seaford High School is now a brighter, better equipped learning environment for special-needs students and a welcome source of revenue for the district.
The freshly updated 2,000-square-foot space features many new amenities needed for students to develop everyday life skills. It boasts a new kitchen complete with wood cabinetry and ample counter space, new energy-efficient appliances, including a dishwasher, a full-size stove and oven, a full-size refrigerator and a laundry area with a washer, dryer and ironing board.
There’s a designated hygiene area with a sink and mirror and a foldout bed to teach students how to change sheets and make a bed. Updated, more private classrooms enhance the learning experience and upgrades to plumbing, heating and electric are projected to lower energy costs.
The suite currently services 18 students, nine from the district and nine from surrounding schools that do not have facilities to accommodate their special-needs students. But up to 24 students can be accommodated.
“Renovating the Life Skills Suite was an ideal way to keep our own Seaford students in their home district where they can attend school with their peers and a prudent fiscal endeavor because the facility is large enough to service other students who are in need of a learning environment like this,” said Superintendent Brian Conboy.
The renovation was a $125,000 capital improvement item in the 2013-14 budget that was passed by the community last May and is projected to bring in an additional $250,000 in revenue, which will help lower the tax burden on the district’s residents.
Students Danielle Palermo and Patrick Caulfield, both 15, said the new facility makes them “happy” and they are excited about learning new skills, such as cooking and doing laundry. They also marveled, along with their classmates, about how beautiful it is.
“It has been a heartwarming experience to observe the students’ enthusiastic reactions to their new learning environment,” said Jane Dawkins, director of special services for the district. “Access to updated appliances in an aesthetically pleasing space has been an excellent motivator for the students. They are eager to complete activities of daily living, which are essential to prepare them for post-secondary living.”
For more information about the Life Skills Suite, please contact the Special Education office at 592-4370.