Lakeland School Opens New Building - Summer of 2008

The new Lakeland School opened its doors in the summer of 2008. The building is 109,000 square feet, accommodating students ages 3 through 21. Lakeland School is known for its expertise in working with children with a wide range of challenges. The School takes great pride in the range of services offered and in its success in helping children reach new heights and meeting their innate potential.Lakeland School

This project started out with a $22 million dollar projection of costs. In the end, this project came in well under that projection and closed at a $17.1 million price tag. Much of this was accomplished through competitive bidding, very good weather/building conditions, and few change orders to the project. Significant financial contributions from the Geneva National Foundation and Dave and Lolita Kachel of Whitewater, as well as numerous others, provided the necessary support to make Lakeland School all that more special.

You know you have entered a special building when you are immediately greeted with the word “believe” painted as a bold graphic on the lobby wall. This bold graphic sets the tone for an inspiring building designed to provide a unique setting for students with significant challenges. The new building goes beyond traditional educational approaches to create a unique learning environment. Special consideration was given to creating the type of environment that would provide both physical and emotional support for the students and staff. Inspiration for the design was drawn from a quote by Deborah Chaskin, “Just like the butterfly, I too will awaken in my own time.” The school was designed to provide opportunity for this transformation to take place.

From the parking lot and throughout the school, accessibility and security are paramount. Each classroom is designed for eight to sixteen students. Storage, toileting rooms, studies, and teacher planning areas are shared between classrooms. Technology is provided through wired and wireless networks for the entire building. Special design considerations were given to lighting, heating, and air conditioning systems to reduce noise and increase comfort. Wider classroom doors were designed for wheelchair and equipment accessibility. There are sensory rooms to provide sensory integration to address each child’s needs. Manipulation, auditory integration, and visual stimulation are available. A quiet sensory room is also available to passively facilitate sensory processing challenges. In the Occupational and Physical Therapy area, staff members have direct access from their workstations to the therapy area that provides specialized equipment and individualized treatment sessions. Lakeland School offers both traditional and non-traditional program approaches to help facilitate a child’s development. There are two pools which provide for therapeutic exercise. Water resistance and whirlpool jets provide a therapeutic environment to enhance sensory and motor performance. Both pools are accessible via stairs, ramps, or lifts. Fully surrounded for security and wind restriction, the central courtyard is an extension of the learning environment. Play areas, rain gardens, sensory opportunities, and outdoor instructional areas are provided to encourage self-confidence and independence. The Movement, Agility, and Coordination (MAC) area provides equipment and space for restoration of posture and proper function of muscles, allowing the student to learn (or relearn) proper patterns of movement.

This building is recognized throughout the state for its successful design. The Daily Reporter and the Wisconsin Builder recognized it as one of Wisconsin’s Top Projects in 2008. The American Society of Interior Design gave Lakeland School a Gold Award for its unique learning environment. The Wisconsin Public Policy Forum cited Walworth County and its fifteen school districts with the Intergovernmental Cooperation Award in 2008. And finally, the International Interior Design Association awarded a First Place to Lakeland School for the exceptional interior design. Plunkett Raysich Architects, LLP established a program called the Signature Series that recognizes design projects for receiving a national award, receiving multiple awards, or being recognized by their peers at the American Institute of Architects. Lakeland School was one of ten projects given the Signature Series honor in October, 2009.