By Sammy Williams for AZBEX
The Town of Gilbert council met September 19th to approve a zoning change for the proposed ACES of Gilbert special education campus on the SEC of Bluejay Drive and Galveston Street (near the NWC of Williams Field and Power Roads). The meeting followed the unanimous recommendation of the town’s planning commission to rezone the 4.8-acre site from Business Park to Neighborhood Office.
ACES (Austin Centers for Exceptional Students) is the largest private provider of special education services in Arizona and operates schools in Peoria, West Phoenix and Tempe. This will be the second ACES campus in Gilbert, with another location operating at Greenfield and Elliot Roads.
According to the developer’s application, “ACES is a group of specialized schools that provide special education and extensive therapeutic services to students who are still enrolled in their respective public or charter schools.”
The school’s website claims ACES returns approximately one third of its students to their respective school districts each year with the skills necessary to be successful on a traditional school campus.
The application describes ACES as a school serving, “students with autism, emotional disabilities, intellectual disabilities and multiple disabilities.”
The state-certified schools, which partner with 65 school districts and charter schools across the Valley, offer K-12 education for students ages 5 to 22 with a ratio of one trained staff member to every three students.
The staffing for ACES of Gilbert will bring 40 new professional jobs to the area, which “will help support the growing commercial uses in this area of Gilbert,” according to the developer.
A neighborhood meeting was held on May 14th at Gateway Pointe Elementary School. The two residents in attendance asked questions regarding the details of the ACES school and student population, the operations of the school, traffic patterns and proposed lighting types.