News

Easter Seals moving into Bobbie Noonan building in Joliet

Preschool closing, director says there aren’t enough teachers

The Bobbie Noonan’s Child Care preschool that has been in Joliet for more than 40 years will soon close and be replaced by an Easter Seals program.

There are plenty of children for the preschool but not enough teachers, said Ruth Tyrrell, director for the Joliet location.

“We cannot find qualified teachers,” Tyrrell said. “It’s a problem all around.”

The last day of preschool is June 3, although Bobbie Noonan will be in the building for another week before Easter Seals takes over the facility.

Bobbie Noonan’s locations in other areas that will continue to operate, including one in Lockport where some Joliet parents will take children.

Tyrrell said the decision was made in February to close the preschool, which has operated at the corner of Barney Drive and Fairway Drive for more than 40 years.

Easter Seals is located across Barney Drive from the Bobbie Noonan’s building.

The Joliet Zoning Board of Appeals approved a special use permit May 19 for adult day services at the building. It was final city approval needed for the Easter Seals plan.

Easter Seals President and CEO Deb Condotti told the zoning board that Easter Seals would provide services for young adults with disabilities who needed help to develop skills to live more independently.

“It’s a place where people can actually add to their independent living skills,” Condotti said. “Their parents are concerned that over time they have as much independence as possible.”

Clients likely will be at least 22, the age at which students with intellectual disabilities no longer can stay in high school, she said. Two areas of focus will be development of social and intellectual skills, but a kitchen in the building also will be useful in the development of job skills.

“We really want to focus on students that are now at home and want to transition to a more independent lifestyle,” Condotti told the board.

The 19,000-square-foot building is in a residential area located on the west side of Barney Drive. The east side of Barney Drive, which includes the main Easter Seals facility, is lined with commercial and office development.