AuditoriumThe Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education – Roosevelt (ICRE-R) began as the Illinois Children’s Hospital-School (ICHS). The school was authorized as a unit in the Education and Correctional Division of the State Department of Public Welfare in 1945. This was accomplished largely through the efforts of State Senator Bernice Vander Vries of Evanston, Illinois. ICHS was opened in September of 1946 with thirteen student. The school was intended to address the treatment and educational needs of children with severe physical disabilities that could not be addressed by public school system at that time. The first students were children with muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and polio. ICHS was “the nation’s first state residential center for educable children with a variety of severe physical handicaps.”

The legislative support authorizing the school was a reflection of the current public policy to provide equal access to education to all children. The 1947 summer edition of Public Aid in Illinois stated: “In comparison with institutions whose residents are able-bodied or with those which offer only a partial service to the handicapped, the operating costs of the Illinois Children’s Hospital School will be high. This is a foregone conclusion when we set out to care for, educate, and if possible to physically restore the severely handicapped. Americans cherish a firm belief in universal education. There is a deepening conviction that if a child needs special help in overcoming barriers that lie between him and the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, it is the obligation of society to knock down the barriers. Give him an opportunity to live. Give him a chance to learn.”


This school was first located at the former North Chicago Community Hospital at 2551 N. Clark Street. Richard M. Eddy served as the first Superintendent. In January of 1965, ICHS was moved to a new building at its current location. The building was dedicated on April 15, 1966. Parent involvement has always been important and was formally organized through the Parent-Staff Council.


As the emphasis of the ICRE-R mission focused on providing Transition Training, a separate apartment building was added to the campus. The apartments are used for the last stages of training prior to the students’ transition to community living. These apartments were initially occupied in the year 2000.