Hamilton Heights School Corporation has seen huge enrollment increase in their early childcare program, that now takes place in the Little Huskies Learning Center. The addition to this academic wing houses preschoolers during the day but is designed to be flexible enough to function for students of all ages in the before-and-after-school programs that will also reside here. The entire facility can transform, with central classroom areas opening to accommodate programs during the vacation months, or an open activity / play space environment when needed.
Our design team collaborated with Hamilton Heights administration and educators, in addition to observing the students, to utilize every bit of natural day light in the design. With exterior walls facing three out of the four cardinal directions, a trio of different glass types were implemented to address glare and maximize future utility savings.
The decision to prioritize day light and offer direct views of the woods and playgrounds, in addition to a neutral aesthetic, was driven in part by the Reggio Emilia Approach. This educational design philosophy integrates classroom space with the surrounding environment, the rest of the school, and the local community. Views of nature might seem like nice amenities, but research shows that students thrive physically, psychologically, and socially when in closer relationship with the tactile environment. Coupled with increased security standards, this new space at Hamilton Heights will have a measurable effect on student quality of life.