Plans have been submitted to turn a vacant community centre into a special needs school.
The former Polish community centre in Kedleston Road, Derby, could become a setting for up to 60 pupils with learning difficulties.
It would also accommodate 30 members of staff.
Applicant Hopedale Children and Family Services Ltd says there is "increased demand" across the city for specialist education provision of this kind.
No changes are planned to change the building externally but internal changes would be required to create a new school facility, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.
The schools specifically provide education to children with autistic spectrum condition, speech, language and communication difficulties, and learning difficulties with associated challenging behaviour.
In a statement sent to planning officers at Derby City Council, the education provider said: "Following a review and outputs of a detailed study, Derby was identified as a local authority in need, due to increased demand.
"As a result, a site for a SEN school has been identified at Kedleston Road and subsequently a planning permission is sought for the material change of use."
The plans also include widening the existing access to allow two-way vehicle access and walls either side of the building to be reduced in height to improve visibility. Ten on-site staff parking spaces will also be provided.
The former Polish Club and Catholic Centre has been empty for about 18 months, planning documents show.