Emerge School Autism groundbreaking.jpg

Construction of a free-standing building for The Emerge School for Autism is expected to be complete by spring 2020. In the front row of adults are Aqua Stovall, Colleen Waguespack, Dr. Natalee Menge, Erica Morgan, Mike DePaul, Melissa Gregg Blake, Leigh Bozard, J.P. Perrault, Melissa Juneau, Jan Ross, Paula de la Bretonne, Brenna Lamb and Shelton Jones. In the second row are Nathan Irby, Buddy Ragland, Robert Pettit, Charles Blaize, John Meek, Anthony O’Connor, Stephen Waguespack, Mike Gaudet, Kelli Bondy Troutman and David Faulk.

The Emerge School for Autism held a ceremonial groundbreaking June 6 on the Emerge campus at 7784 Innovation Park Drive, in Baton Rouge.

In its first year of operation, the school has served 20 students in two classrooms at The Emerge Center.

A growth campaign for the school began in 2018. To date, $1.673 million has been raised toward a $2 million goal, according to a news release. 

Construction of the new 7,000-square-foot building is expected to be completed by the spring of next year. Until then, the school will temporarily operate out of Polk Elementary. Once fully built out, the school will be able to accommodate about 48 children.

“Today is an incredible milestone for Emerge,” said Melissa Juneau, CEO of The Emerge Center. “Not only is The Emerge School the first and only public charter school in Louisiana exclusively designed for children with autism, it is also a significant extension of The Emerge Center’s successful interdisciplinary therapeutic model. We look forward to seeing our campus grow with the addition of a freestanding building for the new school.”