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Published September 16, 2013, 08:53 AM

North Dakota Developmental Center celebrating name change

GRAFTON, N.D. (AP) — The former North Dakota Developmental Center in Grafton is celebrating a name change that officials say better reflects its mission.

GRAFTON, N.D. (AP) — The former North Dakota Developmental Center in Grafton is celebrating a name change that officials say better reflects its mission.

The home for intellectually and developmentally disabled people in northeastern North Dakota is now called the Life Skills and Transition Center. Officials scheduled an open house for the community on Tuesday.

"Over the past decade, North Dakota has dramatically changed how we provide services to people with disabilities to help fulfill their personal goals and lifelong dreams," center Superintendent Alex Schweitzer said in a statement.

The Grafton center has evolved from an institutional facility to one that helps prepare people with disabilities to work and live independently in communities. The change was prompted by a lawsuit against the state in the early 1980s filed by a group called the Association for Retarded Citizens.

The center had more than 1,000 residents in 1979. It now serves fewer than 100 on site.

The Grafton center is part of the state Department of Human Services. It employs about 375 people.

Some campus buildings have been converted into housing for the elderly, some are being used by public and private agencies, others are line to be demolished, and some might be turned into more housing.

"We would like to see if we can't do something with housing, to provide some variable-rate housing, kind of like they're doing out west," state Sen. Tom Campbell, R-Grafton, told the Grand Forks Herald, referring to projects to increase housing in the booming oil patch of western North Dakota.

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