DuPage County officials came to the old juvenile detention center for a ribbon cutting celebrating its new indoor appearance and purpose. Over the summer, the not-for-profit Joseph Academy renovated parts of the facility and made it its fourth location.
County officials had closed the Juvenile Detention Center and moved its services to Kane County in January because it was underutilized and not cost-effective. So officials decided to lease the property to joseph academy, which is a school for troubled children and teens who aren’t able to succeed in public schools.
“When students enter the doors of Joseph Academy, they will discover an educational environment filled with compassion, structure and opportunity,” said Ken Kater, Lead Teacher at Joseph. “The troubled youth that we serve have often not had the opportunity to develop positive relations. JA staff builds report with students so we are always connecting before correcting.”
“Now we are entertaining an educational institution, Joseph Academy, first-rate, second to none, which is going to teach children,” said Dan Cronin, DuPage County Board Chairman. “It’s going to inspire young people so they won’t be sentenced to a period of incarceration.”
Classes began in September but Cronin joined Joseph Academy staff today for an official opening.
The Wheaton location has three students so far but can accommodate up to 32. The renovated facility includes three classrooms, a cafeteria, offices, counseling rooms, sensory room, locker room, gymnasium, library, and multi-purpose room.
Joseph Academy’s other facilities are in Des Plaines, Hometown, and Melrose Park.
Kevin Machak reports
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