Education and Outreach Center
The Eden Institute, the founding program of the private nonprofit organization Eden Family of Services, serves the needs of children, young adults, and families affected by autism through year-round educational and outreach services. For 20 years, Eden was housed in a telephone switching station built in the 1950s. Impressed with the organization’s mission and role in the community, KSS was honored to help Eden find a new home.
Determined to give Eden the best location and design possible, KSS identified and analyzed several potential sites and attended many local planning and organizational meetings. Together, Eden and KSS selected a site for the new school building on the periphery of Princeton Forrestal Village, a mixed-use development. The environment provides teachers and students a strong sense of community, shared athletic and event resources, as well as ample open space and many walking trails for students.
KSS collaborated with Eden’s teachers and specialists to design the new school, which incorporates “best practice” elements in the classrooms and gymnasium such as a sensory motor room and weight room. The school centers on its vocational and therapy areas, envisioned as a house and an office. The house, a life-learning space for students to learn routine activities such as making their bed and brushing their teeth, also has lounge areas for students. The office is a vocational resource for learning how to perform administrative work. A school store, in partnership with Wawa, gives older students experience in retail and public interaction. The L-shaped building is configured around a central courtyard for younger students to play and explore.