Classrooms get upgrades thanks to donors

Contributed Pathfinder Village directors Andrea Kirshoff of Norwalk, Conn., left, Douglas Willies of Cooperstown, and Dawn Hamlin of SUNY Oneonta, listen as Senior Director of Education Maura Iorio, second from left, gives a tour of the renovated kitchen.

When students return to school Sept. 7 at Pathfinder Village, they will be greeted with refurbished classrooms thanks to two anonymous donors.

“We received two anonymous donations totaling $2.2 million,” said executive assistant and development associate Sally Trosset. “One was earmarked for educational projects and the board thought it was a perfect fit to renovate the school.”

According to a media release announcing the donations, some of the money will be earmarked to build an integrated preschool and some of the money will be used to enhance the village. The project was slated to begin in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the project one year.

“We are good to go on Sept. 7,” she said. “All the renovations have been completed.”

Trosset said all of the rooms in the school have been modernized, technology has been upgraded, doors and windows have been replaced, the HVAC system has been upgraded to COVID-19 compliant specifications and the main entrance has been moved to the east side of the building.

“Shifting the administration offices allowed us to make the classrooms bigger and buses will have an easier time loading and unloading students,” Trosset said.

She said the renovations of the classrooms included fresh coats of paint, new floors and ceilings, the upgraded HVAC system and technology upgrades. The technology upgrades include the “equipment the students need in the classroom,” she said. Each student is evaluated and given his or her own Individual Educational Plan so the technology needs of each student is different, she said.

The school in Edmeston opened in 1980 and teaches children with autism, Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities, she said. The school will have 22 students attending this fall and the school has a maximum capacity of 25 students, she said. Students attend from area school districts — up to 50 miles away — daily and there are a couple of students from farther away, downstate and Long Island who board at the school during the week, she said.

The school building is the anchor of the village, Trosset said. Pathfinder Village also has Otsego Academy, a two-year college program, and houses 85 residents in 10 houses on campus and four houses off campus, she said.

“The school houses the gymnasium, and outside there is a bicycle trail and basketball courts,” she said.

Vicky Klukkert, staff writer, can be reached at vklukkert@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_VickyK on Twitter.

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