Plans for the future Giant Steps centre for autism are taking a leap forward as the province confirms a $15-million investment into the building project.
Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge was on hand to make the announcement for the future $51-million building.
The new centre aims to improve services for children and adults with autism in Montreal.
The new state-of-the-art building will finally allow the Giant Steps Foundation to expand its reach and services, helping the autistic community.
It’s taken six years to get this announcement off the ground, according to officials.
The new centre will help provide a variety of services for the autistic community, Giant Steps director-general Thomas Henderson said.
“Providing higher-quality, evidence-based educational and community services to more children and adults on the spectrum is an absolute necessity. With this funding today, we are one step closer to making our vision a reality,” Henderson said.
The new centre will provide a learning environment that will vary, offering services starting from the elementary and secondary level to adult education, employability and life skills.
The future space will also house a research and innovation division to help study and better understand autism, officials said.
While $42 million for the project has been secured, the organization still needs to raise another $10 million through a fundraising campaign.
It’s also looking to the federal government for help.
“Sometimes we get people that say, ‘We hesitate to donate for brick and mortar,’ well, this is not brick and mortar in the traditional sense,” André Bourbonnais, co-chair for the Giant Steps Autism Centre campaign, said.
“Every detail, every fabric, every material from the light to the space is absolutely critical for those kids and those adults that we are going to support.”
Construction of the Giant Steps Autism Centre is set to break ground in January of the new year with an anticipated opening in September 2023.