Issues in Education: Integrating Social Services into School Facilities (Article)

How learning environments can serve the whole person with a balanced emphasis on education and social service needs

Alternative Learning Centers pose a unique challenge to districts and architects as adaptive design and a holistic approach are necessary to meet the needs of these students.

The Rochester, Minnesota ALC represents more than an educational building for the district—it’s a wholly innovative method of learning, communication and service to the community.

Conversations between the district and Wold centered on the unique challenges these students face while completing their education. The core issues ALC students faced included some students having no permanent address, a risk of homelessness, lack of medical care and insurance, finding childcare and other obstacles.

ALC students need alternative ways to complete their education outside the typical K-12 experience model. Because Wold is a firm focused on public sector needs through education, government, healthcare and senior living, we are in a unique position to bring these resources together and incorporate them into school facilities.

Our approach is to design facilities which serve the whole person, not just one facet. We go beyond architecture to meet human needs by working holistically instead of prescribing what a facility needs. It’s effective to bring people together to work collaboratively to tackle a problem in non-traditional and innovative ways.

Read the full Thought Leadership article in Learning By Design here

Author:

Vaughn Dierks

Partner | AIA