Trumbull approves move of special education programs to vacant property

Charles Dumais, executive director of Cooperative Educational Services in Trumbull.

Charles Dumais, executive director of Cooperative Educational Services in Trumbull.

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TRUMBULL — Cooperative Educational Services plans to move part of its operations to 40 Oakview Drive, after approval by the Planning and Zoning Commission Wednesday night.

The school’s executive director, Charles Dumais, went before the commission to request a special permit to move some of its special education programs, including those now housed in a leased property on Cambridge Drive, to the Oakview Drive space that CES purchased in December for $7 million.

The building has been vacant since roughly 2015, said Rina Bakalar, Trumbull director of economic and community development. It is in an industrial area.

“We saw it as an opportunity to get out of a leased property and make programmatic changes,” Dumais said Thursday morning.

CES provides educational support and services to school districts and communities in Fairfield County.

In addition to moving some programs from the leased facility, Dumais said, acquiring the Oakview Drive property would also allow CES to move programs from some of its other buildings, freeing up space at those facilities. For instance, moving some services from the building where CES has its preschool services will likely allow the preschool program to enroll more students.

“This approval will allow us to better coordinate our services and expand offerings to the region and community,” Dumais said.

Since CES’s application required no expansion or modification and was in the existing footprint, there was little discussion of it during the commission meeting, and members unanimously approved the application.

Dumais said the building needs some renovation, but he’s hoping that at least some programs can be moved there by the summer.

Bakalar said Thursday that it was “great” that CES planned to “reactivate” building.

“Bringing people and activity to the neighborhood is important to the continued revival of that area,” she said. “The area has so many different uses, from light manufacturing/warehouse, to office, to medical, housing, recreation, etc. It is amazing to see the transformation from an underperforming area in 2016 to a great place to be and invest in 2022.”