Home Virginia Institute of Autism previews new facility at site of former senior center

Virginia Institute of Autism previews new facility at site of former senior center


virginia institute of autismThe Virginia Institute of Autism will preview plans for a new facility, the Center for Adolescent and Adult Autism Services, at an Open House on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 491 Hillsdale Dr., the location of The Center (formerly the Senior Center). T

he event will introduce VIA staff, families, and community partners to the building and to the expansion and integration of VIA programs that the project will allow. Press opportunities will be available.

Attendees at the Open House will be able to tour the building beginning at 5:30 p.m. Brief remarks by VIA President Ethan Long and by special-needs architect Cathy Purple Cherry will take place at 6:30 p.m.

Cherry, principal of Purple Cherry Architects and Purposeful Architecture, will speak about the plans and vision for the facility, as well as share her experiences as a mother of an adult son on the spectrum, and as a designer of unique spaces that serve special needs populations.

The purpose of CAAAS will be to serve as a home and central community hub for VIA’s expanding programs providing education, job training, social connection, and paid employment for teens and adults with autism.

“We know that as people with autism age and graduate from high school, their opportunities for learning, for jobs, and for social connection diminish severely,” said VIA’s President Dr. Ethan Long. “VIA has been focused on finding solutions to that problem for a number of years. As our programs have developed, they’ve grown beyond the capacity of our existing facilities. We needed to find a new home to provide these essential services.”

VIA is purchasing The Center’s current site on Hillsdale Drive in spring 2020, when the organization formerly known as The Senior Center moves to its new home in Belvedere. Two important, homegrown Charlottesville nonprofits are passing the baton on a building that has provided locals with programming for a healthy and engaged lifetime for almost 30 years.



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