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In 1887, state legislators enacted a law providing for a new facility to be built in Fort Wayne. The "Indiana School for Feeble Minded Youth
" opened its doors on East State Boulevard three years later and admitted 300 children. The young people enrolled at the new school took classes in art, music and gym. As they grew older, girls were taught laundry and domestic skills while boys were taught farming, carpentry, brick-making, and cobblery.
By 1918, the facility's population swelled to well over 1,000 and included adults as well as children. Overcrowding and old facilities led to the 1954 decision to transplant the school to Parker Place Farm, one of four farms it owned and the site of the present campus. The state constructed 18 buildings on the 142-acre site to meet the needs of the residents. The move began in 1960 and, in fewer than 10 years, the school's population exploded to more than 2,500.