The Kayne Eras Center houses a special-education program for children in preschool through high school. Although intended to serve children with varying skill levels, the environment is designed to resemble a mainstream classroom setting. Also included are groups of counseling offices, teacher/staff training areas, adult-education classrooms and a large multipurpose CAPACITY1,078COST PER SQ FT$117.50FEATURED IN2002 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYSpecialized that can be used as a gymnasium or auditorium. The multipurpose room is at the most visible corner of the site. Community groups can enter it without using the school circulation.
The community-based aspect of the plan and building organization is reinforced by the main street that connects the school dropoff to the multipurpose room. Side streets connect the early grades, middle school and high school wings to the main street. Each wing is distinguished by a different bright color, connecting the exterior stucco color to the interior halls and classrooms. This provides a means of orientation and sense of belonging to the children at each grade level.
The single-story classroom wing ceilings slope up from the main street. This allows for high clerestory windows at the side street and classrooms. Natural light fills each corridor and classroom. The ends of the corridors lead to the exterior playgrounds. The three classroom wings form two courtyard spaces. The larger courtyard has the library at the closed end, extending the indoor teaching space to the outdoors.
The outdoor playground spaces can be reached directly from each classroom or from the secondary streets. The building is part of a mixed-use housing development of single-family homes. The community has access to the playgrounds as well as the multipurpose rooms.
The administrative side of the main street contains staff areas, directors’ offices, adult education, and a conference center. The gently curving block wall defines the edge of the administrative area and follows the curve of the adjacent street. There is a constant reminder of the street pattern and ties to the surrounding community in the organization and building forms and materials.