LGE Design Build has recently completed constructing the $4.5 million Phoenix West Campus of The Austin Centers for Exceptional Students (The ACES). The ACES, a state approved school, is the largest private provider of special education in Arizona partnering with 65 districts and charter schools.
The 30,000-square-foot Phoenix West Campus, located at 89th Ave. and McDowell, features:
- Sensory room for students with autism
- Life skills room to teach independent living
- Vocational technology center to teach construction, auto mechanics, woodworking, landscaping and computer skills
- Commercial kitchen to teach food handling skills
- Performing arts area for music, art and drama
Located on four acres, the K-12 school has fields, basketball courts and a large playground to encourage physical fitness. The school opened in August.
“The ACES project allowed LGE Design Build to showcase our ability to create functional and aesthetically appealing buildings,” said Dave Sellers, LGE president.
The school serves approximately 90 students in the Southwest Valley with autism, emotional disabilities and intellectual disabilities. The ACES offers behavioral and academic remediation, and returns about 30 percent of the student population to their public schools each year. The teacher to student ratio is 1:1.5 in classes for students with autism.
“This beautiful new facility allows our staff to offer optimal educational and therapeutic programming for our students. The instruction is outcome based and data driven to insure the best results for students,” said Francie Austin, president and CEO of The ACES.
The Phoenix West Campus replaces the Avondale campus, housed in leased space.
Other campuses are in Peoria and Tempe. The Peoria campus accommodates approximately 150 therapy animals including mini horses, goats, pigs, rabbits, reptiles and birds. Those animals will be visiting students on the new campus to teach empathy and compassion. In addition to prevocational training on site, students frequently volunteer in the community with organizations such as Maricopa County Animal Control.
In a recent anonymous survey, 93 percent of parents rated The ACES’ educational and therapeutic program as “excellent.”
The ACES has served about 15,000 students during its 20-year history. After attending The ACES, approximately 90 percent of students are able to successfully attend a public school and do not need to return to the specialized school.