When Colin was born with Autism his grandparents Jim and Jere Lynn Burkhart decided they wanted to raise him.
At the time not much was known about the disorder and so the idea for a research and education facility was born.
“She kept on and kept on,” Jim Burkhart said. “And about all I’ve done is been a long for the ride and it’s been a great ride, so thank you very much.”
“You provided the money,” Jere Lynn Burkhart quipped back.
Friday the Burkhart center for Autsim Research and Education officially opened.
Janice Magness is the director for the Burkhart transition center.
“It means a great deal to all of us,” Magness said. “We’ve been working for about seven years to get a building to get a place for all of our students to work and have room to grow and this building is providing that opportunity for us.”
Magness said the facility will allow them to continue their research.
It will also serve as an early intervention center for children diagnosed under the age of six.
“We also have a transition academy for young adults ages 18 to 30,” Magness said. “To assist them after high school with job skills, life skills and social skills.”
Chancellor Kent Hance said this is a project he wanted to see finished before his retirement.
“Well this will be the top autism center in the nation,” Hance said. “We do more than anyone else we do a lot of research. This is going to touch lives all over the nation; especially in
Several of the centers students were on hand and Colin even helped cut the ribbon.
It was a day Magness could not help but get emotional over.
“This is a dream come true for Jim and Jere Lynn Burkhart,” Magness said through tears. “They had a vision for the Burkhart center and it’s been great and we are all here today to celebrate that vision.”