Independent Living Center

Located near downtown Ionia, the Independent Living Center is more commonly known as “the House.” This transition training site opened it’s doors on January 28th, 1991 to provide a functional learning environment for Moderately Cognitively Impaired post secondary adult learners.

Adult learners attending the House transition site follow, as much as possible, the Ionia Public School calendar. Based on IEP goals, they may attend 1-5 days a week, and when appropriate, do activities that are held past the regular school day. They are not required to operate during the summer months.

Looking at the educational needs of the adult learners, determines the amount of time they attend the House in a week, and they may exit prior to their 26th birthday if they have achieved their goals.

The House has worked with a variety of adult learners who benefit from the functional learning environment in the transition areas of Home Living, Community, Recreational/ Leisure, and Vocational training.

Home Living Area:

Adult learners are responsible for planning, shopping for and preparing simple meals.  They participate in all aspects of household cleaning including laundry.

Vocational Programming:

Adult learners are encouraged to try several work settings to find the one they like and that matches their skill set, including sites within their own community. Many students elect to have volunteer jobs after graduation.

Community Living:

This area provides adult learners access to their community to work on specific skills.  Utilizing community sites such as the post office, library, bank, grocery store, restaurants, etc., provide a variety of different learning establishments that allow the adult learners to work on cognitive, social, communication, and safety skills.

Leisure & Well-Being:

Adult learners work on social skills, and develop  recreation and leisure activities (e.g., playing games, using the computer, crafts). The adult learners access sites in their local communities and within the Grand Rapids and Lasing areas. 

History of the Independent Living Center

Commonly referred to by Ionia residents as the “original” Blanchard House, this Greek Revival house was built in 1847.  

First located at the site of the present Blanchard House, it was moved in 1879 to Adams Street. On November 11, 1984, it was moved again to it’s current location. Within these moves, the house had a fire which resulted in the loss of some of the original rooms. 

The Ionia Historical society had the House renovated including new wiring, plumbing, furnace, drywall and interior trim to assimilate the original. The front basement wall was made using stone from the original foundation.

The Ionia County Intermediate School District purchased the House on October 15, 1990. Purchase of the House was made after the Planning Commission of the City of Ionia granted “special usage” approval. The Michigan Bureau of History gave their complete endorsement for the intended usage of the facility.