First Student has signed an agreement to purchase special-needs transportation company Hopewell Transportation. Shown here is one of the company's minivans. Photo courtesy First Student

First Student has signed an agreement to purchase special-needs transportation company Hopewell Transportation. Shown here is one of the company's minivans. Photo courtesy First Student

NEW LENOX, Ill. — First Student signed an agreement on Thursday to acquire special-needs transportation company Hopewell Transportation.

Hopewell, based in the Chicagoland area, offers school transportation to special-needs students and their families. The acquisition of the company, which will continue to operate under the Hopewell Transportation name, is expected to close by early November, according to a news release from First Student.

“Traditional transportation models are not one-size-fits-all, and Hopewell has advanced a service that meets the unique requirements of the special-needs population,” said Paul Osland, president of First Student. “Through this partnership, we intend to grow as well as learn about the special care the Hopewell team puts into transporting our most vulnerable population. We will continue to search for opportunities where we can leverage our expertise to benefit school districts, students, and families."

Established in 2011, Hopewell Transportation operates a fleet of more than 200 vehicles to transport special-needs students for 20 Chicago area school districts.

“First Student has long been an industry leader when it comes to developing and implementing best practices for transporting special-education students,” said Will McDermott, president of Hopewell Transportation. “Working together, we can strengthen our commitment to provide safe and reliable transportation to the districts we support and those entrusted to our care.”

McDermott will maintain a senior leadership role in the new venture, according to First Student.

Additionally, a team of internal experts at First Student will ensure the company remains at the forefront of evolving requirements and needs.

First Student currently has 16 locations in the Chicago area, and transports more than 70,000 students in the community every school day.

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