Provided referendum services and architectural design services for a new 68,000 school addition.
Fox River Middle SchoolWaterford, WI
After completing an assessment of their surrounding communities, Waterford Graded School District realized that their facilities were not keeping pace with their neighbors and sought to make improvements within their schools. PRA was brought on the team, and in 2018, we helped the District successfully pass a $25 million referendum to renovate and improve their middle school. The resulting building is a state-of-the-art school that supports today’s teaching and learning and provides the needed flexibility for the variety of learning needs within the district.Read more
At the start of the project process, the community and district established four goals they wished to achieve. Starting on the exterior, the administration wanted to create an entrance that improved curb appeal while also providing a strong sense of identity. Before you enter the building, you are greeted by a dramatic two-story glass façade and canopy supported by two wood beams. The mixture of wood, metal, brick, and glass creates a unique and remarkable entry. A challenge the design team faced was seamlessly transitioning the old and new. The new spaces are outfitted with a brick façade donning hints of orange echoing the original building to develop a cohesive aesthetic.
The district also wanted to reconfigure the grade levels and move the sixth grade out of the elementary building and into the middle school. This was accomplished by increasing the capacity of the building from 500 to 600 students. With the sixth graders moving into the renovated building, the design evolved to providing each grade level their own distinct areas of the school. Each grade has its own stairs and learning wings, allowing them to stay within their peer group, establish a string sense of community, and collaborative relationships.
Within the building, the district sought a middle school environment that was collaborative, open, and flexible. This goal influenced the organization of the building to be around the expansive and bright student commons. The student commons is a multi-purpose space that is two stories and flooded with natural light. It is the focal point of the entry and is where students can collaborate outside of their learning wings. In the learning studios, there are breakout areas located outside of classrooms to encourage further collaboration. The variety of spaces for students allows them to find their niche and place to learn effectively. Lastly, the district and community wanted to support hands-on learning. As a result, the design included a new fabrication lab, an engineering/PLTW room, and an enhanced library/student success center.
Fox River Middle School underwent a massive transformation that will serve Waterford Graded School District generations to come. The old 1964 building was opened and converted into a visible, flexible, open, and vibrant learning community.