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In the classroom: inside the new J.P. Lord School

Posted at 7:44 AM, May 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-30 08:44:51-04

The brand new J.P. Lord School in Omaha is described as a unique building made for unique needs.  It opened the second week of May.    

For principal Laura Mac-Holmes everything from the covered bus drop-offs, to large storage closets, to a therapy pool are all considered miracles.  The 45,000 square foot building is the only one like it in the nation. 

"Typically buildings aren't built for multi-handicapped students," said Mac-Holmes. 

For 60 years, the school that services students ages 5-21 with multiple cognitive and physical disabilities made do with limited space inside a building on UNMC's campus.  Through the 2014 OPS bond and a relocation agreement with Nebraska Medicine, this 10 million dollar building near 45th and Marinda could be constructed.  

"Our students ultimately had a part in this creation," said Mac-Holmes. 

The architect spent weeks with staff and students at the old J.P. Lord site. 

"They just took all that information and made the best possible thing they could make for these children," said Darcy Cleveringa. 

Adaptive Physical Education Teacher Darcy Cleveringa says things like the extra wide hallways, outdoor space and sensory room will help transform the learning experience.  

"I just love that it has brought so much newness to the kids.  One thing I am seeing is there is so much for them to look at and so much for them to respond with," Cleveringa.