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Monday, May 27, 2013

Firm Designs School for Special Needs

A St. Paul-based architecture firm was presented with a unique assignment: designing a school specifically for special education students in grades K–8. Ideally, unique provisions would be made to create an optimal learning environment.

So the design team went about their work a little differently. They came up with a design for a 70,000-square foot education center called "Karner Blue," a school that will be built in Blaine, MN. Most schools have long hallways with classrooms on each side—corridors where students mix and interact on their way to class; Karner Blue will have four separate pods, each one designated for a particular set of students. For example, one pod will be intended for students with autism and varying emotional behavior disorders. "In this school, they didn’t want any long corridors. They didn’t want there to be any chaos in the hallways," said Steve Erickson, project manager.

Working to minimize distractions, the classrooms were designed so there will be no clear line of sight to the hallways. The school will also have large windows bringing natural light into the classrooms, but the window sills will be five-and-a-half feet off the floor. 

Construction for this new project will begin in June and is scheduled to end in July 2014. A special salute to BWBR Architects.

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