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Published by EUA Marketing, 2018-07-13 10:25:29

Waunakee Intermediate School

Case Study



GROWING COMMUNITY: The impact embracing heritage has on a community’s identity


STRONG Waunakee is a suburb of Madison in an agricultural setting surrounded
COMMUNITY by farm fields and meadows with views altering as the seasons and
colors change.
EUA’s design and long-term vision gave the District and School Board a sense
of heritage and community. With that trust going forward, EUA started from
the ground up, making the project unique to Waunakee and not a template
off the shelf. EUA explored who the client is and who the students are,
wanting the school and students to be proud of this project, thus helping them
continue the community’s pride in the Waunakee brand.




After extensive facility analysis, research and community input, Waunakee
Community School District (WCSD) and EUA developed a long-range Facilities
Master Plan that aligned with the priorities of a growing community. The
District reported significant enrollment growth, with K-6 student enrollment
increasing by more than 400 students since 2005 and a projected additional
increase of approximately 200 students by 2020.
No permanent classroom space had been added in 10 years, creating a
challenge to providing appropriate instructional space. The District had
been using temporary portable trailers at the Intermediate School and had
used non-classroom space and hallways to support additional student
learning needs.
Together with the WCSD and public input, EUA developed a plan to address a
growing community and the need for flexibility for future expansion by creating
financially responsible solutions supported by public outreach. The new
700-student capacity intermediate school honors Waunakee’s strong identity
with their agricultural heritage, devoted brand within the community and
uniqueness within the district.


Successful referendums supported by the public gave the school district a Project Partners
strategy for a new intermediate school, which was needed to address current
capacity issues in their growing community, including long-range planning Construction Manager
for future expansion. The school district used this opportunity to re-think their J.H. Findorff & Son, Inc.
learning environments and provide flexible design strategies to support more Geotechnical Engineer
personalized learning spaces. Sustainable Engineering Group, LLC
Mechanical Engineer
The learning environments feature enhanced flexibility for future re-purposing Fredericksen Engineering, Inc.
as education continues to evolve and grow in the Waunakee community. Electrical Engineer
The site was designed for future expansion due to a growing community and Muermann Engineering, LLC
capacity issues. The long-range planning considers expansion of the school Civil Engineer
when it reaches its capacity. Point of Beginning, Inc.
Structural Engineer
Waunakee has a strong identity of a tightly-knit community where people Pierce Engineering, Inc.
know your name. The design process was important to relate the building to
the community, making sure it has importance to the community’s agricultural Numbers of Value
heritage in the building design, showing the farm fields slowly turning into
neighborhoods. They didn’t want just another building. Intermediate School (5-6)
November 2014 Referendum
PROJECT GOALS: Question 1: $44.8M
Question 2: $2.16M
»» Create an intermediate school dedicated to serve grades 5-6 on Capacity: 700 students
a new campus. Size of Site: 12 Acres
New Construction: 156,000 sq ft
»» Design the site for future expansion to include a new middle school Project Completed: August 2016
for grades 7-8. Space per Student: 223 sf/student

»» Reflect the unique community and agricultural heritage of Waunakee.
»» The community wanted a clear 25-year plan, to understand the referenda

and how the buildings would be organized.
»» The school district wanted an energy efficient building with lower

operating costs.


Cafeteria offering ample natural lighting The EUA team met with school staff to understand how they
were teaching in existing spaces and how they planned to teach
THE STORY in the new space. The visionary team discussed the layout of
the building, shapes of classrooms, pods or clusters of learning
The long-range Facilities Master Plan addressed the spaces arranged around a central gathering space, efficient
need for flexibility and created financially responsible spaces designed for new technology and mobile devices, and
solutions that supported the District’s public outreach flexible interior design that integrate the community heritage.
efforts allowing them to overcome a previous
unsuccessful referendum. The passed referendum THE SOLUTIONS
resulted in a new 156,000 sq ft intermediate school
for grades 5-6 with capacity to support 800 students As Waunakee is a community of high growth, EUA designed the
and adaptability for future expansion, and renovations new school to be constructed in phases as enrollment increases.
to two existing elementary schools including a secure The site and building were designed with long-term expansion in
entry and flexible spaces. mind to allow for another building on the campus.The learning
environments feature flexible spaces for future re-purposing as
A visionary team of 12 people from EUA and all education evolves.
disciplines of staff from the school held sessions to
gather input and help build loyalty, working together to The new school is organized into neighborhoods using natural
understand the community, school, students and future elements – earth, wind, fire, water – as a means of wayfinding,
needs. connecting teacher spaces and group rooms, and is rich with
collaboration areas for breakout discussions, wider corridors
and a social stairway with an amphitheater-style setting. EUA
created outdoor learning environments with areas for students to
congregate to take advantage of the natural setting.

The building design is cohesive, from outside to interiors, with
a connection to the site and scenery through extensive use of
glass to bring in more natural light, graphic elements, and color
palettes of the farm fields and meadows in the neighborhood.

Social Staircase: centrally located it acts as a natural gathering place for students




Use of color and wall graphics help with wayfinding DESIGN CONCEPTS

The concept for the design of the new intermediate school draws
inspiration from the farmland it is built on.

The building has a horizontal emphasis and rectangular patterns which
emulate the long horizontal lines of the surrounding panoramic views of
straight and orderly rows of crops.

EUA wanted to reflect the landscape of crops and agriculture in the
interior color palettes by using earthy color palettes inspired by the
planet’s natural elements in the classroom pods: sun, wind, water and
earth – all essential to making things grow and integral parts of the
landscape. Future classroom pods will use color schemes to represent
minerals and rocks.

Gridded patchwork patterns were used in the exterior glass, inspired by
local farm fields as seen from above, while patterning in the brick and
carpeting reflect the rows of crops.


Waunakee was embarking on a new way of organizing their grade
levels, with an increasing number of students and subgroups, so
classrooms are more compact and connected with all the resources
needed within reach, such as drinking fountains and more purposeful
storage. Best practices were used to enhance the experience, resulting
in efficiency and less steps.

Neighborhoods inside the school are called “Villages,” organized around
sun, wind, water and earth elements to color-code a visual wayfinding system to navigate through the school.

Each Village shares a central pod for more collaboration space and shared resources


ACTIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT “The design was driven by the
idea of supporting learning
The interior design supports an active learning environment. in various ways, as well as
Colors and chairs were chosen to give students the ability providing flexibility to both
to move in different groups, letting students decide what teachers and students. Group
configuration they want. Lots of open spaces and breakout and individualized learning
areas were created, along with wider corridors, to let in more settings are one of the
natural light. precepts of a modern learning
environment and supports
The library, media and technology center (LMTC) is located in the learner.”
the middle of the building and serves as the heart of the school.
Abie Khatchadourian,
A variety of graphics were used throughout the building,
including a display of art glass tiles highlighting the color EUA Senior Project Manager
palettes of the Earth’s elements and art panels and wood
carvings reflecting the agrarian heritage of the setting
surrounding the campus.

The highlight of the main entrance display wall are the glass tile panels, backlit by diffusive LED panels.
Waunakee’s art teacher solicited and received grants and funding, coordinating the design and installation.
Each student entering fifth and sixth grade, as well as members of the school board, school administration and
staff at the school created a tile. A local glass maker from The Vinery Stained Glass Studio cast the tiles and
Tony Spolar Studios fused the tiles into large panels.

Student designed glass tiles welcome visitors


OUTDOOR FEATURES (Pictured above) Exterior landscaping elements utilizing the natural surrounding
prairie style, offers students optional outdoor recreation spaces as well as low
The way the EUA team approached the site was maintenance landscaping for the school.
to create outdoor learning environments adjacent
to the building by designing spaces outside for
students to assemble and meet. The use of natural
prairie plantings tie nature to the site and also
reduce upkeep with low maintenance landscaping.

The philosophy that “learning happens everywhere”
extends to the exterior of the building where spaces
and habitats are specifically designed for student
exploration. To the north, directly outside the art
rooms, is an outdoor painting garden where
students can set up easels or work on other messy
art projects. To the south of the LMTC, is a reading
garden, formed with a gentle berm and rock steps
that serve as a quiet respite in good weather. Under
the large canopies are rock outcroppings that
form a make-shift classroom in good weather. The
majority of the surrounding landscape not used for
play and athletics has been designed as a natural
prairie habitat for students to explore.

Utilizing the natural
prairie elements
of Waunakee,
exterior spaces were
designed to give
teachers the option
of having their
classes outside to
take advantage of
nice weather days.


Large windows offer natural lighting to both the Library and Media Center upstairs “Daylighting is an
important aspect of
the school. Spaces

are getting ample
natural light and
“borrowed lites” are
provided throughout

the building.”

Abie Khatchadourian,
EUA Senior Project Manager


Interested in an efficient building with lower operating expenses, the District made the new intermediate school an energy
usage and saving-conscious project. A sustainable project is more than a collection of green features.
It is a network of systems working together for greater impact.

• Geothermal heating and cooling systems were • High performance glass was allows more natural light
installed throughout the building, resulting in to come in and minimizes heat gain and glare.
energy savings.
• Large amounts of indirect light make the building 40%
• Solar panels were installed on the rooftop with more optimized for energy efficiency.
the help of grant money, providing the ability to
generate power. • An online building automatic system allows students
to login to see how the mechanical functions are
• LED light fixtures throughout the building, reduce the operating, including how much power is being
amount of cooling required and lower energy costs. generated and how the air system is working.

Geothermal heating and cooling systems


“EUA has well articulated an approach for
planning, designing and implementing our

building projects; their focus on modern
learning environments is impressive.”

Randy Guttenberg, Superintendent, Waunakee Community School District

333 E Chicago Street | Milwaukee, WI 53202 | 414.271.5350

milwaukee : madison : des moines : denver

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