A Place to Learn, Grow, Succeed and Thrive
Spero Academy is a public K-6 elementary charter school that provides a national model of tailored education for children with special needs. In order to accommodate planned programming expansion and to meet the growing demand for Academy services, Spero hired HDR to help them design a new school building that embodied their mission.
The team’s design process was informed by emerging research and best practices on spaces for children with special needs and focused discussions with Spero Academy staff related to ideal learning environments for the student population.
Key features of the final design include:
- A two-story main entrance with ample exterior glazing that brings in daylight, provides views to nature and creates a sense of connectivity to the surrounding community.
- A floor plan that distinctly separates high-stimulus zones (e.g., gym, cafeteria, entrance) from low-stimulus zones (e.g., classrooms, media lab, speech room) with transition zones in between, allowing students to recalibrate their senses as they move from one zone to the next.
- A subdued colour palette with soft gradations of colour in low stimulus zones and slightly more vibrancy in high stimulus zones.
- Building materials, interior finishes and equipment thoughtfully selected to limit off-gassing, creating healthier indoor environments for students.