Independence Nontraditional School
The Prince William County Independence Nontraditional School offers a permanent home to three unique, countywide programs: Pace East (K-12th), New Dominion (5-8th), and New Directions (9-12th). They all share a common goal of providing educational opportunities to students with special and emotional needs not provided in a traditional school setting. These programs formerly dispersed throughout the County in temporary and aging facilities, are collocated in one facility. This consolidation improves curriculum opportunities while facilitating the operational objectives of the County.
The challenge was to adequately separate students with diverse learning differences and ages, while taking advantage of the economy of shared spaces and resources. Our team met with teachers, counselors, security, and other school staff to learn precisely how the students interact with their environment and each other.
As a result, the new facility has three separate entrances, circulation, and educational spaces for each program while sharing core facilities such as the gymnasium, cafeteria, kitchen, media center, and greenhouse. Bringing the separate programs under a single roof reduces costs for the County while allowing the greatest benefit for the collective dollar.