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Construction to start in fall on Golisano Autism Center

Construction to start in fall on Golisano Autism Center

Construction on a $5 million center for people with autism is slated to begin this fall on South Avenue near Science Parkway.

The Golisano Autism Center Rochester will expand and enhance autism services to serve the more than 10,000 people diagnosed with autism in the Greater Rochester area, officials said Tuesday. The center will be named for philanthropist and Paychex Inc. and Golisano Foundation Chairman, Thomas Golisano, who announced he is making a matching challenge grant of $2.5 million to help build the center.golisano

“I am pleased to provide a challenge grant of $2.5 million to help build this unique collaborative center, which will bring together a wide array of coordinated services and expertise under one roof,” Golisano said in a statement. “The center will represent a significant improvement in how people with autism and their families can get the services they need over the course of their lifetimes.

“I hope that my gift will inspire others to join me and contribute in a meaningful way to this important endeavor.”

The Golisano Foundation gifted $500,000 toward the grant challenge.

The new center will transform the delivery of autism services by co-locating and coordinating resources offered by multiple autism providers, including Al Sigl Community of Agencies, AutismUp, CP Rochester and Mary Cariola Children’s Center.

“We’re excited to partner on this much-needed project for our community, and are grateful to Tom Golisano for helping to make it a reality,” AutismUp executive director Sarah Milko said.  “The opportunity to coordinate and customize autism-specific services, and prepare for the next stage of life together under one roof, will be a dream come true for families. As a parent of a child with autism, I know how exhausting and confusing it can be to go from place to place for services.”

The Golisano Autism Center Rochester will provide a continuum of services that span a lifetime and offer a full array of coordinated program options for infants through adults. Services include behavioral and primary care supports, respite, community habilitation and social, recreational and therapeutic services, among other things.

“This innovative model for delivering autism-based services will be unlike anything else in our region,” Al Sigl President Thomas O’Connor said. “We anticipate that this model will be looked at on a national level and will eventually be the go-to model for how a community prepares individuals with ASD for a successful and fulfilling life.”

Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

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