Wisconsin Elementary School Design Includes Student, Teacher Input

OCONOMOWOC, Wis. — Meadow View Elementary School in Oconomowoc held a ground-breaking ceremony on June 1 to mark the launch of its school construction project — the result of a successful November 2016 referendum.

Oconomowoc Area School District (OASD) staff, parents, students, community members, Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA), Oliver Construction and Nicholas & Associates all participated in the festivities. (All three companies working on the project have offices in Wisconsin.)

EUA was chosen to design the new 112,000-square-foot elementary school that will host 675 students and include open classrooms with moveable glass walls, administration spaces and a cafeteria with a social stair and stage area. The design showcases modern learning environments through the use of increased daylighting, an emphasis on collaboration and a substantial flexibility to support current and future learning needs.

“One of the aspects of the project that we are most proud of is the way that the students and staff were able to participate in the design process,” said Bob Morris, senior design architect for EUA. “This started with surveys of the students, and included Q and A sessions with the architects for students at each grade level of the school. A visionary team of staff members was established to work in tandem with the architects to develop a new model for how education would work in the finished school. The final design is a result of several workshops with this dedicated team, and then several additional meetings with all staff members to develop the final details.”

Morris added that the resulting design is a truly student-centered environment, bursting with a mix of varied educational spaces for different educational methodologies. Even the more-traditional large group spaces open directly onto flexible, grade-level learning commons, which Morris said allows students to break out into different areas and grouping based on their educational needs. The design intends to minimize traditional corridor space and create a building that is compact, energy-efficient and heavy on natural light.

The exterior design of Meadow View Elementary, he explained, is designed to fit into the prairie on which it is built. Low horizontal angles embrace the horizon and open up towards views of the surrounding natural environment. The natural stone, brick, wood, metal panel and glass are intended to create a timeless design that is rooted in nature but looks towards the future. The large entrance canopy is another hallmark of the design.

On April 9, the OASD School Board approved the Guaranteed Maximum Price of $27.32 million for the new school. This cost is $1.01 million below the pre-referendum budget, attributable to a competitive bid environment. The project’s completion date is set for August 2019.

Since the start of the facility referendum process in 2016, the OASD has had a solid partnership with the city of Oconomowoc and St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church. In January 2017, the OASD School Board secured a contract to purchase 20.2 acres of land off Brown Street/Hwy P, for the new Meadow View School. This location is approximately 1 mile south of the current school site and directly adjacent to a property owned by St. Matthew’s.

With both locations set within the city of Oconomowoc and directly adjacent to each other, it made sense for OASD, St. Matthew’s and the city to work in partnership to develop the corridor. This partnership will result in a new Meadow View School, new St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church and School, and new city of Oconomowoc Park, all equipped with complete roadways and sidewalks along with city sewer and electric.