With growing numbers of special needs students in Motueka flanked by supportive parents and education staff, the Motueka High School Special Needs Unit has been born. The brief called for the existing Senior Common Room to be turned into a unit specifically for students with learning difficulties and provide a functional and stimulating learning environment for students.
Additional spaces were created at either end of the existing pre-fab unit to extend the floor space. The design provides for easy expansion of the building in the future; as with the Stage Two extension which was carried out in 2010, adding some individual learning rooms. Teaching spaces are located at opposite ends of the building, with kitchen, staff room, toilet and storage areas in between. An entry foyer links all of these spaces together while also creating an inviting area from which parents may collect students.
The finished building provides a stimulating learning environment while maintaining a level of maturity congruent with the secondary school environment. The use of colour on doors helps students identify rooms and acts as an aid for the teaching staff to restrict access where required. Coloured bulletin boards adorn the walls providing areas for students to display their work. Plywood paneling over the lower part of walls protects them from wheelchair marks, while coloured seratone in the kitchen and bathrooms offers a link to the lines of the bullentin board and plywood paneling.