The Clark County School District’s new Variety School, replacing a 50 year old facility, serves students varying in age from 5-22 with autism, mental or behavioral challenges. Classrooms are organized in three hubs, each catering to a different special need. Located at the heart of the school is a shared activity space, a media center, and gym and multi-purpose rooms that merge into one space for events. Outdoor spaces include play areas, courtyards for outdoor learning, and a student-run garden.
By working together to ensure compatibility with the given program elements and the budgetary constraints, the MHC/KGA DBT was able to enhance the program above the RFP requirements to include a Shared Activity Space, Independent Living Unit, and shared exterior courtyards. In particular, the team was able to enhance the vocational learning programs by observing the school’s current programs and imagining ways that the new facility might enhance the school’s ability to teach students the various vocations. Examples include designing the vocational kitchen to mimic casino/hotel hospitality kitchens and turning the programmed recycling storage space into an additional vocational space for student training. In addition, MHC/KGA recruited local businesses to become involved with the project, providing input during the design phase and materials/resources once the school becomes operational.