This project was for a 4K-5th grade elementary school in Ellsworth, Wis., one of the state’s largest school districts, serving 1,700 students. The $25 million referendum project replaced the old school and brought together students currently housed in three pre-5K schools – Hillcrest, Prairie View and Lindgren – which were old, outdated and in urgent need of repair.
Paul Bauer, CEO and general manager of the Ellsworth cooperative creamery and chair of the Vote Yes committee for the Ellsworth Community School, said Ellsworth was primarily a rural, agriculture area, but now is changing to a more urban, commuter community with about 60 percent of its workforce commuting outside the Ellsworth area for jobs.
Designed by Ayres Associates, the two-story, 108,000 square-foot school features modern, safe and secure buildings that will serve 700 students and significantly upgrade the educationally appropriate spaces to 135 square foot per student. The new elementary school features a full-size competitive gymnasium that can also be used by the senior high school and middle school. The building also houses the district office.
The project includes a large cafeteria, conference rooms, classrooms and numerous common learning spaces and grade-level “neighborhood spaces.” The collaborative learning environment can be used by teachers and students for a variety of activities with flexible furniture, technology and multi-use storage. Students will be able to flow in and out of classrooms for large group activities as well as individualized learning.
The new school also greatly reduces the time buses spend transporting students. Buses remarkably drive 2,200 miles per day to pick up students in two shifts – one for the three current elementary schools and one for the middle school, high school and St. Francis students. The proposed change will result in one pick-up for 4YK-12 students. By using a one-start, one-stop route, the district will eliminate 850 miles a day of bus time.
The school is located directly east of the senior high school and south of the current Day Hillcrest school, creating a campus. Construction began in early September 2017 and was completed in early 2018. Wells Concrete contributed 40 precast double tees (11,389 square feet), with acid etch and sandblast finishes.