Planning for special needs

The Calais School, a private, non-sectarian, special-education school in Whippany, N.J., that provides service to students with special learning needs, broke ground on an addition and renovation program in October 2006.

The school's master plan maximizes the use of the existing building and identifies programs that are in need of improvement. It consists of renovating the existing 33,000-square-foot building and constructing a two-story addition.

The architect realized that it was necessary to understand the academic and social needs and behaviors of students with special learning needs. The design team was especially cognizant of these needs when designing the facility to ensure that the spaces can be used fully by both students and faculty.

The renovation and addition will add administrative suites, and the current administrative space will be renovated to accommodate the school's psychology teams. The addition also will provide a new school entry, a new nurse's office and four classrooms that are designed to accommodate 12 students and two faculty members.

A new two-story entry pavilion will be placed southwest of the main bus dropoff and visitor parking area, enabling the building's occupants to access the school easily and utilize the elevator lobby to reach all three floors of the existing building. In addition to the lobby and elevator, the new entry pavilion also will feature a reception area and new bathroom facilities.

The architect for this project is KSS Architects, Princeton, N.J.

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