Thursday, 13 June 2024 13:18

Charlton School Breaks Ground on $13.8M Construction Project

The Wilton Water and Sewer Authority board listens to public comments prior to voting on whether or not to fluoridate the town’s water supply. Photo by Jonathon Norcross. The Wilton Water and Sewer Authority board listens to public comments prior to voting on whether or not to fluoridate the town’s water supply. Photo by Jonathon Norcross.

BURNT HILLS — The Charlton School, a treatment center and high school for young women experiencing mental health challenges, broke ground on a $13.8 million construction project Wednesday morning. Four new dormitories will be built as part of the campus’ largest redesign since 1955.

The dorms will help the school expand its capacity, which is being overwhelmed due to a significant increase in referrals, according to Charlton’s Executive Director Alex Capo. Mental health-related hospitalization rates for girls across the country have increased sharply since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You get scared when you’re looking at the possibility of sending your child, a 14-year-old girl in the middle of a healthcare crisis, two-and-a-half hours away from home to live with a bunch of strangers,” said Bob Clapp, an alumni parent and member of the school’s board of trustees. “The school was beautiful, the grounds were incredible, the staff was top-notch,” Clapp said. “The one area that was a little iffy were the dorms. Dorms are important. That’s your child’s home away from home. During her time here, it needs to be home. That’s why I’m so excited about this project.”

Renderings of the future dorms showed porches, picnic tables, and a courtyard-like garden where students could study, socialize, and heal.

The Charlton School attracts students from all over the country, many of whom have experienced multiple hospitalizations and struggle with issues such as self-injurious behavior, anxiety, and depression. They typically stay on campus for about 18 months, participating in family therapy, equine therapy, art therapy, and New York State-accredited special education curriculum and individual treatment plans.

In addition to the new dorms, a Career Development and Occupational Studies Building will also be built to house woodworking, screen printing, podcasting, and maintenance equipment. The entire project, managed by LeChase Construction Services, is expected to be completed by March of 2025.

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