Jim Maciejewski
echo enrichment

Education cooperative opens specialized facility in South Holland, Ill.

Dec. 1, 2022
The ECHO Educational Enrichment Center & Dr. Debra Parrish-Hooks Administrative Center serves 17 school districts in southern Cook County.

The ECHO Educational Enrichment Center & Dr. Debra Parrish-Hooks Administrative Center opened earlier this year in South Holland, Ill.

The two-story, 99,735-square-foot facility was built near the existing campus and serves students from kindergarten through age 21 with special needs. The ECHO (Exceptional Children Have Opportunities) Joint Agreement, a cooperative of 17 school districts in the south suburbs of Chicago, operates the centers.

The building houses six programs: Adaptive Behavioral Learning Environment, which serves students with needs related to autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disabilities; Communication Development, which serves children who have speech or language deficits; Deaf and Hard of Hearing, which serves students who have mild to profound hearing loss; ECHO Academic Skills Education, which serves students who have multiple complex disabilities; Family Enrichment, which serves at-risk expecting parents and families; and Providing Alternatives For Continuing Education, which serves students with varied behavioral, emotional, and academic needs.

"This facility establishes a future for the special needs children in our area," says Sandra Thomas, superintendent of ECHO Joint Agreement.

The centers provide space that maintains each program's autonomy and functionality while taking advantage of the efficiencies and synergies of a central facility. Common areas, such as the gymnasium, cafeteria and media center, are used by each program.

The architect is JMA Architects.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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