DRG Architects was tasked by the New York City School Construction Authority (NYCSCA) to conduct a research study to understand the educational, vocational, nutritional, physical and medical needs of students with a wide spectrum of disabilities and to provide recommendations for a new replacement school for R722 in Staten Island. The research included evaluating the existing school, visiting similar facilities in the metropolitan area and conducting interviews with school administrators, educators, vocational trainers, parents, students and therapists. From the research a Program Of Requirements (POR) was created, and a vision for a new school concept was born. The concept was developed through intensive study of the students and staff’s daily needs, from drop off in the morning, to daily living, to crisis management, to medical care, to vocational training and daily life skills. Important to this concept was to provide a circulation pattern that would reduce drop off and pick up times by providing two entrances with long canopies that can accommodate over 10 buses at time that leads into a large lobby with multiple double-sided elevators, which form the spine of vertical circulation for the school. We also provided large stairs for able students, to encourage use of the stairs and develop their physical strength, endurance and independence.
Every aspect of the students, teachers, parents and staff’s needs were considered in the design of this school:
This school is a first of its kind, developed from the SCA’s vision to have a school purposely designed from the ground up to meet the unique needs and challenges required for students with special needs and disabilities in a nurturing, supportive environment.