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New facility for special needs students in Walker

Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2019 | Views: 2893

New facility for special needs students in Walker

Those participating in the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Ferrington Place included: (left to right) LPPS Transition Coordinator April Morgan; LPPS Special Education Department Director Eric Penalber; City of Walker Mayor Jimmy Watson; family member Gail Fitzpatrick; LPPS Assistant Superintendent Jody Purvis; family members Cindy Sibley, Chuck Smith, Ed Ferrington, Dottie Marler, and Betty Ferrington; LPPS Assistant Superintendent Stephen Parrill; family members Kaytlin Taylor and Tracy Cunningham; Walker Councilman Tracy Girlinghouse; family members Tommy Williams and David Clark; and Walker High School Principal Jason St. Pierre.

WALKER, La. – Students with special needs who attend school in the Walker School District can now utilize a life skills facility in their home community that is designed to teach them how to perform day-to-day activities in a home setting.

The City of Walker, Livingston Parish school leaders and members of the Ferrington Family of Walker held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 7 for the new Ferrington Place, which is located at 10266 Florida Boulevard, just east of Walker.

The newly renovated home is equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom and laundry room, enabling instructors to teach students how to perform daily activities in each of these settings in hopes of enabling them to live a safe, more independent lifestyle in their own private homes or in a group home setting. A large den located in the rear of the house is equipped with tables and chairs to accommodate larger gatherings.

The City of Walker purchased the property, which includes four landscaped acres, and renovated the site to serve as a center for special needs citizens. School officials will utilize the facility during the school day to teach special needs students, and the Livingston Activity Center will work with the city to develop adult activities during other times of the day, and during evenings and weekends.

Walker Mayor Jimmy Watson said the city plans to create a nature trail through much of wooded area behind the home and to build an outdoor pavilion, which can be rented for parties and gatherings.

Eric Penalber, Ph.D., director of Livingston Parish Public Schools Special Education Department, said 75 students with special needs are currently enrolled in the Walker School District. Those students were travelling to Denham Springs before to gain access to a life skills facility.

“Ferrington Place is a tremendous resource for the special needs residents in the Walker community. Not only does this facility lessen the hassle of traveling outside of the area to access a life skills facility, it also creates opportunities for more programs and more activities for the local special needs community,” Penalber said.

“We are deeply grateful for this partnership with the City of Walker and for this opportunity to better serve the special needs community in this area,” Penalber added.


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