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Our Work › K12 Education › School District of Mauston

K12 Education

School District of Mauston

Mauston, WI

The School District of Mauston hired PRA to provide a Facilities Analysis and Educational Space Adequacy study. There were many deficient classroom spaces at two of their elementary schools and the high school lacked adequate space, especially for technical education and STEAM programs. Most of the buildings are located on one main campus.

Mauston wanted to implement a “grade level community” model before thinking about the design of the building. They sought to consider and incorporate the unique aspect of each grade level. Due to this, Core Groups and User Groups were established to meet and help with the decision-making process. Multiple options were developed for the School Board, ultimately resulting in a successful $54.8 million referendum that would do the following:

  • Replacing West Side Elementary School with a new elementary school on the main campus
  • Improve site safety, traffic flow, and site drainage at the main campus
  • Priority capital maintenance at Lyndon Station Elementary School (outlying school)
  • Addition, remodeling, and capital maintenance at Grayside Elementary School
  • Priority capital maintenance & updates at Olson Middle School

Addition to expand technical education, agriculture, art, FAB Lab, and greenhouse; renovation / expansion of iLEAD Charter classrooms; secure entry upgrade; and capital maintenance at Mauston High School. One of the biggest challenges on this project is that almost all of the buildings in the District are located on one campus. Site circulation had to work properly to ensure safety for students, buses, parent, and visitors. The busiest entry points were minimized, and additional access points were added to separate traffic for certain schools.

Our Work › Corporate › Delta Dental of Wisconsin


Delta Dental of Wisconsin

Stevens Point, WI

With the design of their new 133,560 sf. corporate headquarters, Delta Dental of Wisconsin sought to foster employee engagement, drive innovation, enhance collaboration, and attract and retain employees who have several excellent alternatives in the area, including opportunities to work from home.

The solution begins with the unique floor plan, consisting of a typical 100’ wide floor plate split in half and curled away from a glass-enclosed central atrium.  The metal-clad upper levels appear to float above the plinth of local limestone, evoking the forward-looking philosophy of the company while subtly acknowledging the Prairie School heritage of Wisconsin.

On the interior, the design team drew inspiration from the hospitality industry to create the feeling of home while providing luxury hotel-level amenities. These include a full service kitchen offering diverse meal selections, indoor and outdoor dining spaces, a training facility, fitness center, multiple outdoor balconies to escape the office, and comfortable workspaces for inspired thinking, collaboration, and independent work.  There’s even a 20’ wide, 3 story tall stone fireplace in the central atrium.

The concept of a “modern lodge” was used throughout the design process, which inspired the use of wood, stone, terrazzo, and carpet throughout the building.  This is immediately evident as you enter the building.  The three-story atrium creates an uplifting, daylit space with views of the meticulously landscaped grounds.  Break areas overlooking the atrium next to a grand staircase and two bridges crossing the space offer opportunities for chance interactions and promote wellness for Delta Dental employees. Beyond the atrium, low-walled open workspaces with abundant views and daylight are designed to encourage employee collaboration and social interaction.  Large graphic wallcoverings featuring abstract natural scenes from around Wisconsin are placed throughout to enhance the connection to nature and support the modern lodge concept.

Today, the atrium is the heart of a transformed culture for Delta Dental of Wisconsin.  Throughout the day employees can be seen working alone, collaborating with others, or just enjoying a meal or a healthy snack.  Even at the beginning and end of each day, employees crisscross the atrium to reach one of two parking areas strategically placed at each end of the building to minimize visibility from the office areas, or to meet friends in the game room or enjoy a work-out in the Fitness Center.  The new Delta Dental headquarters proves that a carefully designed building can be a destination of choice for employees. 

Our Work › Healthcare › Orthopaedic Associates of Wausau & Wausau Surgery Center


Orthopaedic Associates of Wausau & Wausau Surgery Center

Orthopaedic Associates of Wausau and Wausau Surgery Center selected PRA to design their new facility after outgrowing their current spaces. These new buildings were designed to be programmatically independent but are connected to allow patients and staff to flow between as needed. The 37,500sf orthopaedic clinic is organized around clear circulation spines with five treatment pods. The center area includes x-ray imaging and connection to a mobile MRI unit. Staff offices are strung along the south windows and in the lower level. A double-height central Physical Therapy gym features 18 foot tall windows to provide a dramatic space for follow-up care.

The 24,000sf surgery component has five 600sf operating rooms able to accommodate abundant equipment for intensive orthopedic procedures. Nearby here are six private pre-op rooms and five post-op bays, and with four flex rooms with private toilet rooms for overnight recovery. The post-op area can be isolated from the rest of the facility when needed to acoustically separate the area when occupied by children. Each OR has individual doors to ensure the separation of clean and soiled items and great care is taken to insure single directional flow of supplies and instruments from use and disinfection to sterilization and storage.

The building mass communicates the patient area with a raised roof that transitions into a large clerestory window that bathes the space in natural light. The staff lounge and conference rooms are positioned to take advantage of the southern exposure and views of the nearby Granite Peak mountains.

Our Work › Civic › City of North Port Public Safety Building


City of North Port Public Safety Building

North Port, FL

Fostering a sense of community and civic pride in the thriving West Villages, the new City of North Port Safety Building anchors the gateway to Downtown Wellen. The campus-like structure houses fire rescue and police from east to west, joined at the center by a public entrance plaza and lobby. Its footprint captures qualities of permanence and lightness, with a planar composition of brick, stucco, and glass. Whimsical abstractions of pike poles, essential in firefighting, carry prominent roof elements. Stretching 24,000 square feet along Tamiami Trail where it meets Preto Boulevard, the building’s corner features bright red fire house doors. Here, a 1946 Seagrave fire truck is housed within a glassy display room, evoking the rich history of North Port Fire Rescue and glowing at night like a lantern for the community.

Facing east along Preto Boulevard, the new Station 86 provides offices, sleeping quarters and support space for the City of North Port and Sarasota County in this shared facility. A stair tower for rappelling, ladder, hose training, and other simulated conditions affords personnel on-site practice adjacent to a four bay, double-deep apparatus room. At nearly 6,000 square feet, the sun-lit bays ready the rescue vehicles and fire trucks with bright red metal and glass doors, their names boldly announced above.

Just beyond the apparatus room, the entrance drive brings the public to the south-facing main entrance, where the full expanse of the campus can be experienced. Visible from left to right are the rescue helipad, a 1,600 square foot police garage for support equipment, dedicated parking for police, fire, visitors, and the Safety Building itself, all focused around a contemplative Hero Plaza. Here and throughout the facility, the men and women who have served are memorialized and honored for their dedication and achievements. Next to this plaza is the soaring main entrance and covered gathering space. From the public lobby, the fire rescue and police departments share a 1,000 square foot training room and fitness facility. To the right are the kitchen, dining and aforementioned fire rescue quarters. To the left are the reception, offices, meeting rooms, roll call room and support for the police department. A 1,400 square foot space is being built for anticipated expansion, to serve the community in its continued growth.

With an efficient layout, quality materials and sense of gravitas, the new North Port Public Safety Building honors history while looking forward, performing optimally for its first responders and department staff, and meeting the needs of the thriving West Villages for many years to come.

Our Work › Senior Living › Trinity Woods

Senior Living

Trinity Woods

Wauwatosa, WI

Trinity Woods is an intergenerational housing community on the campus of Mount Mary University in Milwaukee. The project is the result of a partnership between the School Sisters of Notre Dame, Mount Mary University, and Milwaukee Catholic Home. PRA was brought on to lead design efforts for the 258,000 square foot community that houses 52 assisted living units, 90 independent living units, and 24 private family units for undergraduate single mothers. The facility will be a continuing care retirement community for aging sisters as well as other members of the community. The facility will also feature an early childhood development center for up to 100 children. Trinity woods was conceived to encourage serendipitous and supportive interactions between all occupants.

Exterior design elements of the community reflect the collegiate gothic style of the Mount Mary University Campus. Steep red gabled roofs with parapets are complimented by a material palette of stone, siding, and trim in warm gray tones to tie in with the existing campus. The interior design features a palette of wood, limestone, blue, and metal accents in a warm transitional style. Key public spaces, such as the chapel and dining room, feature artwork and stained glass from the Sister’s former campus to preserve their rich history.

Our Work › K12 Education › Oak Creek High School-Performing Arts & Education Center

K12 Education

Oak Creek High School-Performing Arts & Education Center

Oak Creek, WI

The Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District sought to update aging high school facilities and to provide a dedicated performing arts center for student and community use, providing new opportunities for students interested in the performing arts. PRA, in partnership with Nexus Solutions, assisted in a district wide study and successful referendum. The resulting projects include the construction of a new Performing Arts & Education Center (PAEC) and new dedicated space for career and technical education addition (CTE – Auto’s, Manufacturing, Wood and Construction), and miscellaneous interior renovations.

The new Performing Arts & Education Center replaces the existing theater, which was located within the gym. The new theater is a state-of-the-art 1,000 seat theater providing cutting edge spaces to increase opportunities for students in the performing arts. This venue is one of the largest high school theaters in the state. Choir room, band room, and supporting spaces are renovated in support of the enhanced program.

The building is designed to showcase the curriculum and support complementary career paths: The scene shop is located near the construction lab enabling collaboration across classes. The green room is uniquely designed in uni-sex fashion to increase functional space and reduce inefficiencies. Nearby classrooms support pre / post function for entertainers using the stage.

The automotive technology program now includes five bays, arranged in a new motor court.

Our Work › Corporate › MRA – The Management Association


MRA – The Management Association

MRA and PRA joined forces to convert an existing office building into a dynamic new headquarters for their employees and a state-of-the-art training center for their members. Combining elements of hospitality design with cutting-edge office planning, both spaces offer occupants access to a variety of spaces to work throughout the day, from traditional conference rooms and low walled open workstations, to focus rooms, dividable training rooms, breakout lounges, and engaging cafe areas. The visitor experience is paramount, with directional and branded monitors throughout, two fireplaces to warm the heart and color-coded training room entrances to help them find their way. The message is clear: the design of MRA’s new Milwaukee home is a reflection of the quality services they provide.

Our Work › K12 Education › McKinley Elementary School

K12 Education

McKinley Elementary School

Wauwatosa, WI

In 2018, following a successful $124.9 million referendum, the Wauwatosa School District embarked upon a program of facility modernization and replacement affecting fourteen schools.

McKinley Elementary School is a 77,600sf replacement school serving 4k-5 grades. This school is built from a common ‘kit of parts’ developed for use on all of the projects, causing initial concern within the neighborhood. Listening sessions allowed the local community to offer ideas used to develop a unique character for the school, such as placing the building to provide green space easily accessible by neighboring homes, using durable exterior materials and design detailing to link the building to local historical architecture, and the use of internal materials and amenities salvaged from the prior school and displayed in a number of unique ways. The new McKinley Elementary is the result of community input, providing modern learning spaces in a way that links children and families across generations.

McKinley Elementary was awarded the Award of Excellence from IIDA Wisconsin Chapter. This project was also featured my OnMilwaukee as part of their Urban Spelunking articles.

Our Work › K12 Education › Lincoln Elementary School

K12 Education

Lincoln Elementary School

Wauwatosa, WI

Lincoln Elementary School is a neighborhood school on a small, urban site in the Wauwatosa School District which recently received a fully renovated interior and large additions as part of a referendum. The project expanded the school into a three-section 4k-5 elementary school and modernized the building for innovative learning opportunities, while maintaining the charm of the original school built in 1919. The entire site was re-designed to provide safe outdoor spaces for students and the community, including a unique outdoor classroom that enhances the educational opportunities.

Multiple community engagement sessions were held during planning stages to build neighborhood consensus about respecting history and representing the ideals of its community. The school exterior evokes historic design with materials and proportion, while also incorporating modern design elements such as expansive glazing. The 1919 charm is maintained and celebrated through carefully exposed structures that showcase the rich history of prior craftsmanship involved 100 years ago.

By engaging with community members frequently through planning stages, strong consensus was gained for an overall design that incorporates the needs of future users. The form and position on the site were a direct result of input received. The design features central circulation to show views of the neighborhood. The playground was designed to protect children from busy roads and to connect to the neighborhood, which is a key feature of the school. The school and site are rooted in the fabric of the neighborhood and have been designed to extend its reach beyond the school day.

Material palette selections feature a blended contrast of modern and historic influences. Existing brown brick is accented with fiber cement and industrial-look metal panel. Classrooms have a neutral palette, allowing teachers and students to add color of their own. Each room is equipped with operable partitions, encouraging collaboration between classes. Breakout spaces flooded with natural light are located near every classroom grade level, emphasized with school branding colors, tackable surfaces, and digital displays for interactive learning.

Working to keep the bones of the 1919 building intact, the design carefully exposes existing structure where possible to showcase the age and rich history of the school. One area features salvaged doors that are used to create an inspiration wall upon entering the school. Another detail is in the library, where a child-sized learning stair is created using the stair railing from the existing building. To acknowledge the next 100 years of this school’s lifespan, a metal beam was signed by current students and staff before installation and was placed in the cafeteria for the future community to experience.

Learning does not stop at the walls of the building. An outdoor classroom provides educational opportunities focused on sustainability, including solatubes for sun monitoring, a green roof, a visible gutter system for rain collection, a climbing plant trellis, planting beds with root windows, and a rain garden. The outdoor learning pavilion is designed around environmental choices and teaching the community.

Lincoln Elementary School was designed to empower the littlest learners and to create a better, more flexible future for the students and community of Wauwatosa. Built on the foundation of 100 years, it is now capable to endure the next 100.

Our Work › Higher Education › Milwaukee Area Technical College

Higher Education

Milwaukee Area Technical College

The MATC Facilities and Administrative Leadership Teams were at a turning point. While Administration was embarking on their Pathways initiative to help students discover the educational path that most interests them, the Facilities Team recognized the need to standardize and unify the aesthetic qualities of common-use interior spaces, and common materials for exterior aesthetics. PRA and MATC worked together as the project evolved to include defining new design aesthetics that would embellish the MATC brand and make it more recognizable. This began the Master Planning process.   

PRA collaborated with MATC to administer and evaluate student and staff surveys to understand what worked, what didn’t, and what was desired. Together we published the MATC Design Guidelines that are applicable to the Common Spaces and exteriors of 1.93 million SF, 19 buildings, 30,000 students (annually), and over 900 instructors. 

As part of our efforts, we developed Interior Common Areas, which consist of Crossing Nodes, Information Nodes, Study Nodes, and Elevator Lobbies out of existing corridors. Given the diversity of architecture across the campuses, we also found common elements to establish brand consistency for the exterior aesthetics. The Campus Gateway and Campus/Building Identification signage enhances the entrance, makes it more evident, and ties it all together with streetscaping.  

Following the issuance, MATC again engaged PRA to execute the Design Guidelines for the contiguous 2nd levels of the M, C, & T Buildings, as well as the connecting skywalks, at the MATC Downtown Campus.