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Chester County Press

Chester County Intermediate Unit embarks on expansion to serve children with special needs across Chester County

The Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) recently announced a series of transformative initiatives aimed at enhancing educational services for children throughout Chester County and beyond. These projects signify a commitment to fostering innovative learning environments and expanding opportunities for students in the region.

One of the major initiatives is the purchase of property in the eastern part of Chester County for a school campus that will help children with special needs. Aiming to open its doors in September of 2026, the Child & Career Development Center (CCDC) Great Valley Campus will provide innovative and engaging learning experiences for children with special needs. At the new campus, which will be an extension of the CCDC Coatesville Campus, the CCIU and CCDC aim to provide a child-centered teaching and learning environment that enables students to reach their full potential in all aspects of their lives.  

According to Chester County Intermediate Unit officials, they worked closely with staff members, administrators and superintendents in the partner districts to identify the needs for students, and then set out to plan the CCDC Great Valley Campus as a way to redefine special education programming for students between the ages of 5 and 22 across Chester County. Extensive efforts, including visits to state-of-the-art facilities from North Jersey to Washington, D.C., and multiple design meetings with special education experts, have informed the creation of innovative learning spaces that cannot be found in the region. 

State-of-the-art facilities with community-wide accessibility

The campus will integrate Biophilia design principles to ensure scenic views and natural light for positive mental health, while safety remains paramount with state-of-the-art features and a unique ramp system for community-wide accessibility.  

The campus is also committed to holistic development, and boasts community learning spaces and a designated County Cup location – a “to go” breakfast and lunch café that provides volunteer and competitive employment to students with disabilities. There will also be an expansive outdoor recreation area promoting physical education, gross motor skills and overall well-being.

"Investing in these new facilities is a testament to our unwavering commitment to the diverse needs of the students across Chester County and the commonwealth,” said Dr. George F. Fiore, CCIU executive director. “Acquiring and renovating buildings will allow us to create tailored environments that cater to the unique requirements of each learner, fostering accessibility and providing a foundation for their academic and personal success. These projects will also address the growing need for additional support and services provided to our partner districts.”

Daniel F. Goffredo, Ed.D., superintendent of Great Valley School District added, “The Great Valley School District is excited about the impact this project will make on students’ learning. By expanding access to state-of-the-art special educational programming to students with special needs throughout Chester County, the program will increase the opportunities available to those students and their families. We are very excited to have such programming in our part of the county, and we know it will undoubtedly help to shape the futures of many students.”

Fred S. Engle Middle School lease and renovation project

The CCIU project team is diligently advancing the renovation plans for the Fred S. Engle Middle School in the Avon Grove School District (AGSD). The team is building on a successful track record with various contractors. In addition to housing the AGSD administration building, the CCIU will add special education programming and preschool and migrant education classrooms in the renovated building. The goal is to award construction bids in 2024 with project completion expected by May 2025.

“Avon Grove School District is grateful for our partnership with the Chester County Intermediate Unit on this important project,” said Dr. M. Christopher Marchese, superintendent of AGSD. “This collaborative effort to bring critical programs and services to southern Chester County will have a significant impact on students in the region, and we look forward to the wonderful opportunities it will bring to our district.”

Lease of 1002 South Chestnut Street in Downingtown

Addressing the need for expanded space for Career, Technical & Customized Education (CTCE) programs, the CCIU has secured a lease for 1002 South Chestnut Street in Downingtown. Renovations were recently completed, and the facility will house a new diesel mechanic program and CTCE administrative staff. 

"This learning experience allows us to better serve our students, providing them with state-of-the-art facilities and programs," said Dr. Joseph Fullerton, CTCE director. “The CCIU and our Technical College High Schools are creating job pathways for students in high priority areas, in turn improving the economy of Chester County and strengthening our future workforce.”

In preparation for the upcoming debut of the new diesel mechanic program, students from all three TCHS campuses are currently engaged in a 6-week rotation during the second semester, delving into the various aspects and opportunities the program has to offer. Scheduled to launch in the 2024-25 school year, the diesel mechanic program will soon be accessible to all students at TCHS campuses, with applications currently being accepted. This initiative aims to provide students with valuable insights and experiences, paving the way for a successful introduction to the program in the coming academic year.

Future capital projects

In addition to the major projects mentioned above, the CCIU is actively planning to advance other capital projects in the future, including upgrades to the CCIU Learning Center, Child & Career Development Center (CCDC) and Toddler Center in Coatesville, and renovations at the TCHS Brandywine Campus in Downingtown for the new sports medicine program.

"The Chester County Intermediate Unit remains dedicated to creating a learning environment that fosters growth, innovation and success for every student. These projects are pivotal steps toward realizing that vision,"  Fiore said.

For more information about the current projects, please visit