Morris-Union Jointure Commission, Developmental Learning Center-Warren

Warren, New Jersey

The Developmental Learning Center-Warren, a new learning facility for educating students with autism, has the look and feel of a real community. The vision was to recreate the outside world, while maintaining safety, security and structure within a self©\contained, controlled environment. The design brings the world to the classroom.

¡°Mainstreet¡±¡ªa skylighted, ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY250COST PER SQ FT$214.00FEATURED IN2008 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYSpecialized corridor¡ªis the heart and soul of the facility, complete with storefronts, canopies, clouds, a mock bank, supermarket, home-improvement center, barber shop and apartment. Along this central spine, students receive hands©\on training for everyday life skills within a real©\world atmosphere. A 1950s-style diner under the main atrium serves not only as a mock restaurant to develop students¡¯ social skills, but also as the faculty dining room. The facility contains a gymnasium with an elevated indoor track, health and fitness center, and two swimming pools that are developmentally appropriate for the beginner, as well as advanced swimmers, and ideal for aquatic therapy.

Occupants are sensory©\sensitive; therefore, careful consideration was given to placement of natural and artificial light sources, acoustic control, thermal comfort, pleasing exterior and interior colors, and tactile surfaces.