North Florida School of Special Education (NFSSE) has been described in many ways — “the happiest place on earth,” “a little slice of heaven” and recently as “the gold standard” in special education by Governor Ron DeSantis. These descriptions all capture a bit of the magic and innovation experienced at NFSSE. With a growing demand for this loving, state-of-the-art education for those with intellectual and developmental differences, NFSSE is pressed for space in its 9,000-square-foot facility.
Through the generous outpouring of the Jacksonville community, NFSSE completed a $6 million capital campaign, enough to begin “building the dream.” In February 2019, families, students, community leaders, philanthropists and friends gathered in a heartfelt groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the past and look forward to a bright future. And now we eagerly await the completion of our new 32,000 sq ft. school building which will house our lower school classrooms, therapy rooms, a state of the art cafeteria for our culinary arts program, music, art education, a physical education complex, and a therapeutic equestrian center. We believe that no dream is too big, and we are committed to inviting our community to continue to grow with us as we step into the light of our full potential.
The campus will be anchored by the Christy and Lee Smith Lower School Campus and Therapeutic Center. The 32,000-square-foot facility will house the:
- DuBow Family Physical Education Complex
- Linda and David Stein Academic Complex
- Dostie Family Basketball Court
- Fine Arts Center Gifted by Jill and Charlie Arnold
- Chartrand Culinary Arts Complex
The Delores Barr Weaver Therapeutic Equestrian Center that includes the Dorothy and Lee Thomas Equestrian Barn is the first urban equestrian program in Jacksonville offering equine therapy to NFSSE students during the day and the community after school and on weekends.
Every student, staff member, family member, volunteer, board member and donor is an integral part of the work in progress here at NFSSE, and we are creating a fully realized campus that will enable our students’ hopes and dreams of becoming the best version of themselves a reality.