Center for Lifelong Learning

Educational Services Commission of New Jersey
The Center for Lifelong Learning demonstrates its commitment to energy self-sufficiency and environmental responsibility in a new 89,000 square foot School/Community Center located in Sayreville, New Jersey. The school for autistic, severely multiply-disabled and preschool disabled children from the ages of 3 to 21 years old contains 24 classrooms, a Media Center, Physical Therapy Rooms, specialized classrooms, a gym, an Integral Garden and a Community Center.  The Community Center, which is available for the community during non-school hours, contains a competition pool for swim meets, a children’s zero-entry pool with a lazy river and water-features, locker rooms including one for families, a community room and a fitness center.

The approach to the design  the needs of this special population (which includes a broad range of age groups) is through the introduction of space separation by age group, and sensory  and the 24 classrooms are grouped into four “communities” containing six classrooms each.  Each community is intended to be its own distinctive environment with a covered walkway and entry.  In the center of each community is a large core space with a vaulted ceiling which is used for physical therapy as well as lunch, crafts, or large group instruction.  Each pod is identified by its own distinguishing color theme. This theme is represented on the exterior and repeated on the interior through the finishes and furnishings.  The colored communities are laid out around the building in the color scheme of the rainbow.  They are linked by a corridor loop connecting all common spaces.  In the center of the loop is a learning garden and greenhouse for the students.  The Aquatic Center has its own entrance and can be physically separated from the classrooms during non-school hours.

Energy-related exhibits will be on display for the education of the student population, community, and visitors.

The Center for Lifelong Learning is registered with the U.S. Green Building Council and intends to pursue certification under USGBC’s LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program.  This project is registered with the certification goal of Platinum. The LEED® Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. The utmost care was taken to create a design as environmentally sensitive as possible which involves optimizing energy performance, use of only renewable resources, reduction of water and energy consumption and makes use of natural resources to achieve greater efficiency.  This environmentally sensitive design will ultimately benefit not only the unique student population but also the planet.

The facility is also listed in the Top 20 K-12 schools as a Green Power Partner by the EPA.

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