District Communications - News Room

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” - John Wooden

As people enter the front doors of the new 47,000 square-foot J.P. Lord School, they will discover it is full of little details that will make a positive impact on how its students are educated and cared for during their time at the building. Just some of its features include eight large classrooms equipped with ceiling mounted lift systems, retractable ceiling electrical systems for students with medical needs, restrooms, sensory equipped tables, huge storage closets and added space to store equipment. There is also designated classroom space for art, music, physical education and a library. Perhaps the biggest and most anticipated feature is the new 8’ X 12’ hydrotherapy pool donated by the Omaha Volunteers for Handicapped Children, which will allow students to be immersed in water for additional therapy to help with self-regulation, speech, oral motor control, strength and coordination. An additional feature is a canopy for buses to park under as they drop-off and pick-up students that will protect them from inclement weather.


“Can you imagine how beneficial the pool will be for our students,” said Program Director Laura MacHolmes. 

Just as important as adequate space and meeting students’ medical needs is providing adequate sensory stimulation. For that reason, the entrance has an interactive projection and visual display system (similar to the one found on the floor of the Henry Doorly Zoo’s Aquarium), as you enter the front doors. Ceilings are covered and left exposed to provide a visual contrast, windows instead of walls surround the school’s IT panel, colors and patterns on classroom walls, floors and storage areas keep eyes naturally flowing from one feature to the next. Students also have a new multisensory room filled with tables and other interactive equipment and nooks strategically located around the school, which are ideal for one-to-one interactions between students as they navigate the halls.

Since students attend J.P. Lord from five to 21 years of age, every age group was taken into consideration by the design team.

“This building truly is one-of-a-kind,” said MacHolmes. “We are very fortunate to have this facility and have already received requests from parents outside of Nebraska for their student to attend. We are becoming known across the country.”

J.P. Lord’s first student day will be May 7. It will be dedicated on Saturday Oct. 13 at 2 p.m. The community is welcome to attend the dedication and tour the building.

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