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Multi-million dollar autism center to open in Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. — A groundbreaking ceremony this week marked launched the start of the new Sarah Dooley Center for Autism (SDCA) at St. Joseph’s Villa on Brook Road in Henrico.

The $8 million construction project will transform the Dooley School building into “a state-of-the-art facility that combines pioneering education, therapy, research, training, and community partnership,” according to a St. Joseph’s Villa spokesperson.

Construction is expected to be completed during the 2020-2021 school year.

“A new Campus Center housed within SDCA will provide a flexible space to host seminars for public school teachers, parents, pediatricians, and other professionals who work with children with autism,” a spokesperson said. “While SDCA will serve up to 96 students at a time, public trainings in a variety of autism-related subjects will have the potential to impact thousands of lives across Virginia.”

“We are aiming to attract new community partners and experts in autism to the Greater Richmond region,” said Kathleen Burke Barrett, CEO of St. Joseph’s Villa. “The number of students with an autism diagnosis is rapidly increasing, and we must prepare our schools and communities to educate and welcome them.”

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