Patcraft, a provider of performance flooring solutions, has recognized Walnut Grove Elementary School in Bargersville, Indiana, as one of its three “Schools of the Future!” honorees for this year. Walnut Grove’s new school building incorporates high-performance Patcraft flooring in a state-of-the-art, boldly colorful design that nurtures student pride and high achievement.
The annual program, which is a nationwide competition of K-12 or higher education institutions, has been designed to identify schools that are dedicated to transforming the performance of learning environments. Patcraft donates $1,000 to the recipients in an effort to spotlight and honor school facility transformations.
“Patcraft’s ‘Schools of the Future’ program acknowledges and supports schools that are committed to the design of educational spaces that elevate and impact performance and enhance learning potential,” said Kieren Corcoran, Patcraft director of performance markets. “We are proud to recognize Walnut Grove as a 2019 honoree.”
Architects and interior designers at Lancer + Beebe, LLC, submitted details of the new school building’s innovative design for the contest. They described how the installation of Patcraft carpet transformed the learning environment for youngsters who study, compete and create here every day. The school’s design evokes its namesake walnut tree in color schemes for each grade community: blue, red, yellow and green. The structure and grounds also embrace sustainability with solar panels, a solar hot water heater, energy-efficient windows and lighting, a garden nourished by rainwater collected from the school’s roofs, hand dryers to reduce paper usage, and landscaping of native grasses and trees to reduce maintenance. There’s also a unique learning riser for large-group activities and a success slide, which students tumble down to celebrate their accomplishments.
“We were tasked with making this school energy-efficient, environmentally friendly and, most importantly, safe,” Brian Proctor, Principal said. The new school’s design incorporates many advanced safety features, including reinforced storm refuge areas built into stairwells and restrooms. “Walnut Grove’s design creates a learning environment that blends structure with the ability to adapt the space as needed. The mission of this team was to create a building that will serve the needs of both today’s students and future generations of students. We did a lot of research and pulled together teams of teachers and leaders in each area to provide input on designs for everything from classrooms to shared spaces to lunchrooms and traffic flow.”
Lancer + Beebe architects and designers selected Patcraft carpet for a number of spaces for collaborative education, such as the school’s learning commons areas, as well as rooms designed for reading and solo study.
“For the school’s learning commons, we wanted carpet there to keep it acoustically quiet,” said architect Mark Beebe, one of the firm’s principal partners. “In the media center, we installed Patcraft carpet in colors and patterns that reflected nature, with colors inspired by wintertime, water and sky.”
Water and other natural elements are integral themes in the new school’s design, said interior designer Misha Belyayev.
“What we wanted was a flowing feeling in the carpet, so the pattern we selected has a shimmer underneath and a sense of flowing movement that you pick up as you move through the space,” he said. Carpet also provides a soft seating surface in spaces where students can collaborate on group projects, read or discuss their latest STEM project. “Kids are encouraged to sit on the floor and learn on the carpet, so it’s very comfortable.” Even the learning risers are carpeted so young students can crawl right over the surfaces.
Walnut Grove’s administrators smiled as they received the $1,000 donation check from Patcraft at a ceremony at the school in February. Students and faculty take great pride in the honor given to their school, and in the colors and innovative features of their building, said Proctor.
“The beauty of designing a school from the ground up, instead of renovating, is that you put the pieces wherever you like,” he said. “These shared spaces encourage collaboration and are ideal for project-based learning.”
To learn more about Patcraft, visit patcraft.com.