Valley View Early Learning Center

Tuscon, AZ

th+a served as Architect of Record for this new Catalina Foothills School District Early Childhood Learning Center, designed to accommodate up to 120 children of ages 2 1/2 to 5. The learning center is designed with a strong emphasis on serving children with developmental delays in the areas of cognitive, communication, social or emotional, physical or adaptive skills.

The architecture has a southwestern character, using materials and colors commonly found in regional residential structures, including stucco and stone. Natural lighting is used in all the classroom spaces, which feature a variety of ceiling heights and materials.

The center features an indoor activity area, El Pequeno Canon, which adjoins and connects all the classrooms. Each classroom features a covered outdoor play area, directly adjacent to the outdoor play area and facing the Catalina Mountains to the north.

The fenced exterior play area is surrounded on three sides by undisturbed natural desert areas with mature saguaro cacti in abundance. There are tricycle paths, water and sand play, slides, shade and seating areas and play structures for the children, as well as storage, drinking water and access to toilet facilities adjacent to the play area.