K-12 Education

Waukee Innovation & Learning Center

Waukee, IA

Sometimes several classrooms or maybe a wing of a school are dedicated to professional skill-building and work-based learning; the Waukee Innovation Learning Center (WILC) took this to a new level. To design a pace-setting facility for Waukee’s Aspiring Professional Experience (APEX) program, INVISION partnered with Cannon Design’s Third Teacher program. Initially, the future programming and even staffing were unknown, firmly grounding the project in adaptability, which has proven to be a genuine asset over time.

Conceptualizing this space meant INVISION needed to meet with students, staff, administration, and corporate partners to understand their vision. The resulting building supports diverse activities and learning styles and captures the Waukee Model” of professional-educational partnership. The 64,000sf building provides studios wrapping a collaborative work area to encourage conversation.

The exterior was designed to resemble a professional studio building more than a traditional school, with dynamic glazing patterns allowing for views both in and out of the space and connection to the rural landscape. The materials selected are familiar to the school district from other facilities, utilized in new ways with this building. Listening to needs and understanding aspirations through an in-depth discovery led to spaces supportive of both current ambitions and future growth.

We convened with students, staff, administration, corporate partners and more, and really got to know the vision and the concerns. We challenged them sometimes, to make sure we were getting best solutions, not just the easiest answers. The building had to support different modalities of learning — from individual learning experiences to collaborative opportunities for learning and community gathering — and also retain enough flexibility to adapt to future changes in the program and strands.

Other Team Members