The architectural program for North Education Center (NEC) called for specialized education services for unique learners: gifted and talented, special education, alternative education and career training. The center accommodates up to 450 students, 250 staff and seven programs.
NEC’s goal was to build a school to fit the students. Wide corridors CO FIRMDIRTT Environmental SolutionsCOST PER SQ FT$167.00FEATURED IN2013 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYSpecial-Needs Interiors wheelchairs and bicycles. Ceiling swings and special sensory rooms with colored LED lighting help with calming.
Flexibility was a key consideration, as student needs and numbers vary annually, requiring changes in room size and configuration. The owner chose an agile wall system for classrooms and support spaces. The system includes modular lighting, power and data systems, and supports reconfiguration or repurposing of interior elements.
Sustainable features include recycled sunshade devices and low-VOC finishes and materials. Geothermal energy heats and cools the building. Energy-recovery units provide 100 percent fresh air through the use of “active beams” in the ceilings.
Exterior walking paths and adaptive playgrounds allow for a strong connection to the outdoors.