Lacey A. Collier Snoezelen Sensory Complex
The Lacey A. Collier Snoezelen Sensory Complex is an 11,000-square-foot facility at the Escambia Westgate Center for children with severe disabilities.
The complex is named in honor of U.S. District Court Judge Lacey Collier, who in 1997 endeavored with Westgate principal Susan Berry to plan the facility and helped raise the $1.7 million in funds for its construction. It was built with assistance from sporting goods manufacturer FlagHouse and Greenhut Construction. The building was dedicated on November 29, 2005.
Snoezelen facilities (pronounced SNOO-zə-len) were developed in the Netherlands and "employ color, lighting effects, textures, aromas and music to stimulate those who can be otherwise nearly impossible to reach." The word is a neologism derived from the Dutch verbs snuffelen (to sniff) and doezelen (to doze).
The snoezelen facility at Westgate contains four themed rooms: a Jungle Room, Space Room, Magic Room and Polar Room. The rooms, designed by Barbara McCormack with sensory equipment provided by FlagHouse, reflect the different themes and stimulate the children in different ways.
Phase II of the project, currently in development, will contain "a new sensory aquatic facility, sensory gym with 1/2-mile track, and sensory garden."