PACIS Respite Center

LocationChance, St. John, Dominica
StatusDesign complete

The Association of Parents Advocating for Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Society (PACIS) identified the need for a center to provide respite care for children with developmental delays and/or disabilities on the island.

St John, Dominica

PACIS Respite Center

Portsmouth records the highest concentration of such cases on island, and so was seen as the ideal location for such a center. A plot of land was thus acquired in the Chance area for this purpose and the Millenia team was called upon to provide design and project management services for the endeavor.  Vital meetings and exchanges with the association at the preliminary stages helped to establish initial design criteria that governed the direction the design would take. Among these the idea of creating a facility that reduced maintenance costs, and maximized the use of the terrain in the center’s daily functioning was paramount.

Our team developed a design that incorporated the necessary functional spaces within and around a form that exhibited the contemporary in an efficiency of lines and protruding and receding volumes. The 102m2 main hall on the Ground floor runs the length of the building from north to south and is bordered by the Classrooms on one side, and the staff room, doctor’s office and exercise room to the opposite side.

The basement floor dots the functions of a multi-sensory room, a dormitory, the kitchens and laundry around a 60m2 vestibule. Store rooms and bathrooms are aptly provided on both floors.


Timber beams served as solar protection members. Rough and fine textured cement renders contended with a less exuberant fair faced block to finish external walls, and metal hand rails and accents provided an industrial but not too rigid touch.


Partly for aesthetic appeal and partly to increase sensory stimuli, our designers explored a mix of finishes that allowed the subtle but quite apparent variety.


An ample canopy-covered ramp hugs the obliquely positioned multisensory room and classroom block and connects the basement and ground floors, making access between these levels available for any chair-bound users.