JPS plans to upgrade transitional living facility

transition housing.JPG
The current facility for the Transition Program is on the campus of Lincoln Elementary School in Jamestown. Alex Taylor / The Sun

The Jamestown Public School District plans to renovate the Jamestown North building to house the Transition Program, said Robert Lech, superintendent of JPS.

"The Transition House provides crucial life and social skill development for students after their high school years," Lech said. "The existing structure is old and doesn't meet the very specific needs of the students in the program."

The Transition Program, a program within the James River Special Education Cooperative, provides students with disabilities an opportunity to pursue a post-secondary education while working on transitional skills through an Individual Education Plan (IEP). According to, an IEP is a written document that is created for each public school child who is eligible for special education and is developed by parents and school facility who are knowledgeable about the child.

According to the JPS website, to be eligible for the Transition Program, students must:

  • be between the ages of 18 and 21
  • be receiving services through an IEP
  • have completed all required credits through their high school for graduation
  • participated in the graduation ceremony with peers before attending the Transition Program

Upon completion of the Transition Program, the student receives a signed diploma. Currently, the program is housed on the Lincoln Elementary School campus.
Lech said the program ranges from six to 11 students every year and has recently been opened up to students from surrounding communities, including LaMoure and Litchville-Marion School District. Lech said a new facility for the Transition Program has been one of the top priorities in the district's Capital Projects Plan, but due to the last two failed referendums, the district has had to "pivot and try to be a little more creative" to make the project happen.


Lech said he hopes the Transition Program is able to move to provide more appropriate space and accommodations for students in the program.

"We are utilizing the old Jamestown North building, using our Building Trades and Construction class to do much of the work, and partnering with local contractors," Lech said. "It is an important and necessary project and I am really happy with how we have been able to look at addressing it in a more creative way."

Although the exact cost of the project is unknown, Lech said allowing trades and construction students to help renovate the building not only saves the district money but also provides students with valuable working experience.

"This is a great experience for our construction and building trade students to work alongside community experts and renovate an existing space a new purpose," Lech said. "I can only imagine the pride that these students will have each time they drive by the space and see the value they have helped bring to this important program."

Lech said the project is "working in phases" but he hopes to have the first phase done by the spring of 2020.

"This would allow the program to move into that space. The program currently operates on the Lincoln Elementary Campus. That is a space being modified to meet the needs of the program," Lech said in an email to The Sun on Nov. 5. "This (the renovated facility) is a space that would be designed to fit this need. When we consider the specific needs of our students, the design must match the students."

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