Waltham School

Waltham Elementary SD #185 | North Utica, Illinois
<h2>Waltham School</h2>

The district had two separate schools that served their small, rural student population. Both campuses needed extensive updates and lacked 21st century spaces. The new, smaller single campus school serves the district within a tighter footprint with increased 21st century program space. The design nearly eliminates non-instructional space (hallways, cafeteria, kitchen) and allows for highly collaborative learning studios within an efficient footprint.

The FOREST, RIVER, and MEADOW iconography guide young learners and visitors through the space. The abstracted natural colors and themed graphics create a stimulating and age-appropriate place for students to feel comfortable and connected.

Common spaces allow groups of students to do collaborative and project work adjacent to the primary learning space in which they are assigned. Whole student wrap-around services are located in the common zones to allow convenient access for all students. Outdoor learning spaces are readily accessible to students and faculty. A large, circular outdoor classroom space includes a lawn lecture area, tables and chairs, portable sink for wet lab experiments, and even a giant chess board!

  • 11% Less Space for the District to Maintain
  • Flexible Spaces and Furniture
  • Safety Features
  • Secure Entry Sequence
  • Project Based Learning
  • Innovative Space
  • Outdoor Classroom
  • Distributive Dining
  • Award of Merit, Exhibition of Educational Environments: IASB/IASBO 2019 Conference
The Challenge

The district had two separate schools that needed extensive updates and faced challenges with their small rural student population.

The Solution

A new K-8 school that nearly eliminates non-instructional space and allows for highly collaborative and flexible learning studios in a smaller footprint.

"The new learning environment will now offer our children the ability to be educated in an environment that provides an atmosphere of creativity, innovation, and excitement for all."

- Kristine Eager, Superintendent​, Waltham CCSD #185

Helping Young Learners Find Their Path:

The interior design emphasizes the unique aspects of Midwestern river valleys with the FOREST, RIVER, and MEADOW iconography. Abstracted natural forms and environmental graphics create a sense of playful and student-inspired wonder while guiding young learners through the space. ​Confluence or merging of multiple paths into one is the basis of the design solution. The bend and widening flow of the Illinois River is recreated in the flowing social spaces of the design. Students and faculty move through the FOREST, RIVER, and MEADOW on their educational journey.