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Swallow School District Collaboration Space

Swallow School District

Swallow School is a high achieving 4K-8 school in the western suburbs of Milwaukee. Rich in history, a school has stood on this site for over 175 years and has evolved from serving a small agrarian population to diverse group of students with myriad abilities, needs and curiosities.

PRA was initially retained to develop a master plan for the school and its grounds that would address aging infrastructure, a changing enrollment and changing pedagogy. Allowing for its relatively small size, the design team was able to engage each staff member and some students multiple times to develop a deep understanding of the present and future needs. A clear direction toward more flexible, open and collaborative spaces was quickly identified and targeted initial projects were prioritized.

Preliminary projects completed include a revised secure entry lobby, improved administrative office function and flow, a flexible Discover Lab to support growing STEM programming and an updated IMC complete with digital recording studio where a team of students has come together to create digital video announcements for the school.

In 2017, PRA and District Administration collaborated to organize and facilitate a citizen-based Facility Advisory Committee (FAC) to help chart the future of Swallow School. After months of discussion, exploration, sharing and surveying, the Board of Education placed on the November 2018 ballot a referendum question in the amount of $7.9 million to replace the oldest portions of the building dating back to 1891 and create modern learning environments throughout the building for all students. The measure was passed by the community and PRA led the design effort for the resulting project.