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Els For Autism Breaks Ground with the Els Center of Excellence


Jupiter, Fla. (March 10th, 2014) – The Els for Autism Foundation is today hosting a Groundbreaking Ceremony to mark the start of construction of the The Els Center of Excellence in Jupiter, Florida. The Center, which will be built on 26 acres in the heart of the Limestone Creek area of Jupiter, will be a world-class facility and a leading example of what should be available to people with autism spectrum disorders across the world.

Once completed, the Center will provide a uniquely designed on-site educational program for 300 children on the autism spectrum ages 3-21. It will also bring together the critical components of early intervention, transition to adulthood, medical and professional services, and adult services all on one campus. At its heart will be a multi-faceted global outreach program that will make best practices in education and therapy available to children, families and autism experts both in the U.S. and internationally.

The Center will integrate unique architectural components to create a learning environment specifically designed for children on the spectrum, and will include the technology, space and design components that will enable the Center to connect the international autism community with best practices and the latest information and research.

The Ceremony marks the start of construction of the Lower School and Center of Excellence Auditorium building that will be at the heart of the global outreach programs. The goal is to have these in operation by mid 2015. In the meantime, the capital campaign continues to ensure a continuous build schedule for the Upper School, the sports facilities, the medical and professional component and the adult services program.

“This is an incredibly exciting day not only for me, but also for Liezl and our children as we watch our dream of creating a world-class Center, focused on improving the lives of those impacted by autism, start to become a reality.” Commented Els for Autism Founder, Ernie Els.

He added: “We would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us over the last five years; we have only been able to reach this exciting milestone thanks to the generous and collective support of our friends and donors. Please do stay with us on our journey as we continue to raise funds to complete this unique facility that will focus on helping individuals on the autism spectrum, locally, nationally and internationally, fulfill their potential to lead positive, productive and rewarding lives.”

The Els Center of Excellence has been designed by architectural firm Peacock + Lewis who has worked with Els for Autism since the Center’s initial conception. Gerrits Construction, a seventy-year-old, third generation family-owned firm, has recently been selected to be the lead construction contractor for the Center. Based out of Boca Raton, Florida, Gerrits has substantial, local and international experience in the construction of healthcare, educational, and commercial facilities.

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About The Els for Autism Foundation

The Els for Autism Foundation was established in 2009 by Ernie and Liezl to focus on the issue of autism. The Els’ son Ben is profoundly impacted by the disorder, which affects 1 in 88 children in the U.S., including 1 in 54 boys. The Els family has committed $6 million of their own money to the build the facility.

About Peacock + Lewis

Peacock + Lewis has been providing architecture and interior design services to communities, organizations, business owners, governments and individuals since 1961. Their projects have included custom homes, country clubs, churches, school campuses, hospitals, commercial buildings, public gathering spaces, parks, retail buildings and apartment complexes. Peacock + Lewis are dedicated to creating cost effective, innovative design solutions for each and every one of their projects, taking into account the unique requirements of the client.

About Gerrits Construction

A seventy-year-old, third generation family-owned construction firm, based out of Boca Raton, Florida. Gerrits has substantial, local and international experience in the construction of healthcare, educational, and commercial facilities; across eight countries, seventeen states and throughout South Florida. High profile and unique projects have included the building of every site for the historic visit of the Pope to South Florida, and construction of the World Performing Arts Center at Lynn University; the site of the final Presidential debate between President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney.


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  • To donate by check: make checks payable to Els for Autism and address to: Els for Autism, 3900 Military Trail, Suite 200, Jupiter, FL. 33458.
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