Wilkes Elementary School Wins Prestigious
American Institute of Architects Civic Design Award
The school, located on the northern end of Bainbridge Island, was specifically designed to blend in with the adjacent neighborhood. As a quiet backdrop to the area, the school’s design is meant to build community and optimize the importance of nature, play, and agriculture. The jury also considered design quality, functional utility, ease of use and the ability to draw students in to explore, experience and feel welcome.
“The Wilkes facility provides multiple flexible spaces that support our goals for students and student learning.” Principal, Sheryl Belt shared, “We are thrilled to work with students in a building that is designed to facilitate learning both within the walls and on the grounds”.
Nestled quietly on the site, with a backdrop of evergreens, Wilkes Elementary School encourages collaboration and the development of stronger relationships among teachers, parents, and students. Clusters of four classrooms were designed to create varying opportunities in different scales of learning, from multi-classroom gatherings to intimate individual experiences. Classrooms and learning spaces are flexible to allow students to explore science or art, develop and exhibit projects, break-out into small groups for personalized learning or join together with multiple classes.
”The vision and value the Bainbridge community places on education was formative.” said JoAnn Wilcox, lead architect on the project. “We are thrilled that the Bainbridge Island School District has received this award, which is truly a reflection of their desire to create facilities that honor the value of education while also honoring the gift of public funding by building facilities that will endure. “
Educational and sustainable priorities were established through collaboration with the school district. Included were outdoor education spaces, storm water infiltration through bio-retention areas and wetland restoration, while reducing the material impact of construction and maximizing the benefits of natural daylighting. Additional measures include triple pane windows, ultra low-flow fixtures, an innovative L.O.S.S. (Large On-site Septic System), and air handling units with heat recovery. The school also features a state-of-the-art hybrid heating system to cover the peak heating loads and morning warm up, with radiant floors throughout the building.
“Complementing the educational goals of the Bainbridge Island School District with an extraordinary learning environment is an achievement worth celebrating,” said Tamela Van Winkle, Director, Facilities and Capital Projects. “Students and teachers deserve to learn and teach in facilities that contribute tangibly to educational excellence.”