West Side Elementary SchoolMauston, WI
After completing a comprehensive facilities analysis and educational space adequacy assessment for the School District of Mauston, the District realized their facilities were inadequate to meet the needs of today’s students and teachers. As a result of the study and the want to implement a “grade level community” model, the District engaged the community, creating Core Groups and User Groups for their input and help to make decisions. After creating multiple options and many community engagement sessions, the School District of Mauston successfully passed a $54.8 million referendum. This referendum included plans to build a new West Side Elementary School.Read more
West Side Elementary is 94,267 sq. ft., housing 4K, Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade, and the District’s Montessori program. The building is organized into three unique learning communities in their respective wings. Each wing focuses on the different needs of the grade levels housed within, focusing on flexibility and collaboration. To help with wayfinding and creating learning communities, unique colors are utilized to define each grade level, appearing on classroom doors, accent walls, and carpets. Though each wing is distinctive, they all include flexible breakout areas, small group instruction rooms, and open cubbies that allow teachers visibility from the classroom via ample windows and daylight.
The goal of West Side Elementary’s design is to support the curriculum. The design incorporates colors and various shapes throughout the building to inspire students in and outside the classroom and passively help them learn skills such as math and science. The design also focuses on community. Large graphics highlighting Mauston’s rich history and special hand-picked historic photos were installed throughout the school to allow students and community members to learn about the city’s evolution and feel included in that history.
At the main entry, an open and bright student commons greets students. The commons is expansive, yet warm and inviting with its wood-finished ceiling, expansive windows, and school colors. Adjacent to the student commons are the LMC library, the café, and the gymnasium. Inside the library is a colorful and cozy atmosphere that fosters student imagination and encourages them to continue to grow their knowledge. The café features large custom graphics reinforcing healthy lunch options and has built-in food service counters. The gymnasium space houses 335 bleacher seats and can divide into two gym areas.
The concept of supporting curriculum and community in the student’s everyday life expands the students’ knowledge and sense of home while at school. This project worked to carry this concept throughout the school’s interior and exterior for a successful end result.