Liggett Trail Education Center is a 100-percent accessible building that serves the preschool program for children with special needs and a program for children with multiple handicaps. The challenge in designing the new facility was to ensure security and safety, support physical and emotional comfort, encourage movement and exploration, and foster competence.
The ASSOCIATED FIRMWhite Hutchinson Leisure and Learning GroupCAPACITY212COST PER SQ FT$230.00FEATURED IN2007 Architectural Portfolio contains 12 early-childhood classrooms, four multi-handicapped classrooms (ages 5 to 21), offices, a dining facility and a multipurpose meeting room. Support spaces such as physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech are sprinkled around the building to serve students in both programs, as well as children from off-site. The building is organized into four sections linked by corridors that read as separate “houses” from the exterior. The residential look fits into the heavily wooded site, and is a familiar scale and look to welcome small children.
Curved walls visible off the main corridor mark the entry to each house with a different color, thus fostering the children’s recognition of their houses. Each classroom and therapy room accommodates equipment and programs used by special-needs students. Rooms are completed with sinks and furniture sized to foster confidence as children learn to do things for themselves. Each room has an exit to the play garden, which uses both nature and manmade play structures to encourage movement and exploration. Liggett Trail was designed to blend in with the Jackson County park surroundings and uses natural materials that reflect the park setting.