A Safe, Calm Learning Environment

Vancouver Public Schools

A view of the entrance to the Jim Tangeman children's learning center.

Overview

The Jim Tangeman Center (previously Fir Grove) provides a specialized educational program for students grades 1 through 12, focusing on emotional and behavioral self-regulation. In a typical year, enrollment in this program fluctuates between 50 and 100 students in classes of 10 or less. The school aims to provide a safe, trauma-informed, and interactive campus that allows students to focus on meeting both learning and development goals in a positive environment. 

Students attending the Jim Tangeman Center need a calm, safe and interactive campus that allows them to focus on meeting their various goals throughout their day.

Key Stats

Client

Vancouver Public Schools

Square footage

22,600

Completion

2021

For Jim Tangeman Center being a small building with only 10 classrooms, LSW set out to accomplish a uniquely distributed design with appropriate spatial divisions between students across grade levels.
To help facilitate controlled interactions at Jim Tangeman Center between students and provide spaces for de-escalation, LSW Architects focused on designing a mixture of spaces that provide both privacy and acoustic separation.
LSW Architects focused on designing a mixture of spaces that provide both privacy and acoustic separation at Jim Tangeman Center.

Design

Central design considerations are safety and environmental control, which we addressed by paying very careful attention to user flow, light, and acoustic quality. For a small building with only 10 classrooms, we set out to accomplish a uniquely distributed design with appropriate spatial divisions between students across grade levels.

To help facilitate controlled interactions between students and provide spaces for de-escalation, we focused on designing a mixture of spaces that provide both privacy and acoustic separation. At the same time, these spaces needed to be flexible and multi-purpose driven, allowing for individual and group interactions to seamlessly transition into one another. 

Wayfinding

In order to make the building itself user-friendly, planned circulation routes allow for a comfortable flow of movement between classes and events. This is all aimed to set staff and students up for success, while creating an environment that is inspiring and fun. 


Daylighting

To minimize the visual and auditory distractions across the school, we equipped classes with translucent skylights with motorized shades, similar to the exterior windows, for occupant control of light levels. 

The Jim Tangeman Center (previously Fir Grove) provides a specialized educational program for students grades 1 through 12 in Vancouver, Washington. Designed by LSW Architects, the school focuses on emotional and behavioral self-regulation.