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Spokane Guild School To Move, Change Names

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

A Spokane school for special needs children is announcing plans to move from its longtime home in the Shadle neighborhood and build a new facility in the University District.

The Spokane Guild School and Neuromuscular Center has been working with special needs children since it opened in 1960. It was about 20 years after that that it moved into its current site, an old public elementary school on Garland Avenue, a little south of Shadle Park High School.

“This facility hasn’t worked for this program for a long time, because the building’s small, the parking’s bad. Those things are killers," said the school’s executive director, Dick Boysen.

The Guild School now serves about 300 children, birth-to-three-years-old, with aspirations to serve twice that many.

Boysen says the school has long wanted to be located in the University District. So, two years ago, it bought a three-acre parcel that houses the former St. Joseph Family Center, just east of Gonzaga University.

“We do a lot of work with students in higher ed. It will be a lot more convenient if we’re close to those entities that are training nurses, both at GU and WSU, the physical and occupational therapists at EWU and the joint speech therapy program with EWU and WSU,” Boysen said.

The school is in the middle of a fundraising campaign for pay the estimated $18 million cost of the project. It hopes to move into its new facilities by the fall of 2021.

As part of that, the Guild School is also changing its name to Joya Child and Family Development. Boysen says the new name is a better reflection of the facility’s mission to serve the community.