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Photo by Caleb Motsinger
School began at the new building in February. The facility features many features the old one didn’t have, such as a cafeteria, a kitchen and a laundry room.
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Photo by Caleb Motsinger
The ARC’s old building was donated to the organization in the early ’80s by the American Oil Company. It once served as AMCO’s engineering and administration office.
WOOD RIVER — The William M. Bedell Achievement and Resource Center in Wood River has taken on a new look.
On May 21, an open house revealed the center’s new building to the public, ending more than 30 years of operations at the old facility. But ARC’s location didn’t move far, with the new single-story center located right next to the old one.
“It’s been an easy transition,” said Gary Osborne, ARC’s executive director. “Our staff and students seem to love the new building.”
When the center moved from East Alton to Wood River in the early ’80s, the American Oil Co. donated the school’s former building. The building once was AMCO’s administration and engineering office, and though the school will no longer be located there, ARC will continue to use it as an office building.
School began at the new facility in February, with renovation starting in November 2012. There are 70 students and 40 staff members at the ARC.
ARC is a small nonprofit organization serving about 550 people monthly. The children and adults served at the ARC’s programs have various disabilities and are from throughout Madison County.
The new building was built on a 17,000-square-foot lot on the ARC’s property in Wood River. In the old AMCO building, students ate lunch in their classrooms and were without many of the new facility’s amenities.
“The new building is much better-suited for our students,” Osborne said. “It’s one-story, it has more bathrooms, wider hallways, a kitchen, cafeteria and laundry room.”
ARC was formed in 1957 by a group of parents of children with mental disabilities. Originally named the Madison County Association for Retarded Citizens, the founders were concerned with the availability and quality of services available in Madison County.
The ARC provides a wide array of services to families and individuals diagnosed as having a developmental disability.
In 1988, in tribute to the late William M. BeDell, the Madison County Association for Retarded Citizens was renamed the William M. BeDell Achievement and Resource Center.
The facility offers a community-oriented living arrangement, special education for people ages 3 to 21, adult developmental training, family support and case coordination provided by social workers and early intervention for infants.