Therapeutic educational center uses trauma-informed design principles to create a campus where students access traditional education alongside therapeutic behavioral support.
2021 A4LE Rocky Mountain Chapter Summit Design Award
Boulder Valley School District
As a day treatment program, Halcyon endeavors to provide both a quality education and therapeutic behavioral interventions and approaches for students and their families. While at Halcyon, students address barriers to success, developing and implementing strategies which allow them to flourish at home, at school and in their community. Students stay an average of three to six months at Halcyon with the goal of returning to a regular classroom setting. The school uses Boulder Valley curriculum taught by teachers with degrees in special education. In addition, Halcyon employs about 10 mental health workers and therapists.
At Halcyon the learning and physical environments are deeply interconnected, as the school is a specialized facility with unique requirements for students with social and emotional needs. Integrating trauma-informed design principles, the building project inherently reflects and provides a supportive environment for a diverse student body. By focusing on spaces with clear boundaries and thresholds, the physical environment can bolster a learning space that reinforces a sense of safety and social support.
The existing facility was aging and did not provide enough space for the school’s ever-expanding educational needs. The design strategy expanded spaces to support existing program needs by preserving the original mid-century four-room schoolhouse and adding two new buildings. This campus-like building organization kept structures small forming cozy and sheltered courtyards for outdoor education and socialization.
At Halcyon, students and their families address barriers to success and develop strategies that allow students to be successful at home, at school and in their community.