Walnut Grove Elementary

Bargersville, Indiana


Center Grove Community Schools


110,000 sq.ft.

Total Cost


Completion Date


Design Team
LANCER+BEEBE, LLC (Architect, Interior Designer); CEC (Civil, Landscape Design); LHB (Structural); Circle Design Group (MEP); Design 27 (Tech Design); Vorndran (Foodservice Design)

Walnut Grove Elementary’s design evokes its namesake, the eastern black walnut tree, and elements unique to the context of Indiana with a goal of “explorative placemaking” in mind. Early program directives from the school board included creating future-ready education spaces where “learning happens everywhere,” and a highly sustainable building that was net-zero-ready in terms of energy use. These challenges and numerous others were solved from the perspectives of learner, educator, and community.

Upon entering the campus, one can see numerous sustainable site planning strategies: restored wetlands, a solar array, and a rain garden. Plantings of native prairie grasses, milkweed, indigenous trees, and a wildflower “bee pollinator” garden provide educational opportunities. Wildlife habitats for bats, monarch butterflies, and a frog pond are accessible via a meandering path through the site.

The exterior façade references its Indiana roots through use of limestone and red brick. The welcoming two-story entry canopy resembles a grove of walnut trees with a wood-patterned sloped ceiling surface. The facility is laid out in a “serrated-L” shape with simple orientation from the main entry.

This shape gives 95% of instructional spaces direct view of the outside through large energy-efficient windows.

On the interior, common spaces are grouped at the crossroads of two classroom corridors, to maximize security and minimize travel distances. The media center, situated at the hub, is directly connected to the main entry, blending the inside and the outside of the building. Its focal point is the “Learning Tree,” which serves as structural support for the roof as well as a reading nook. Students can gather on turf-covered risers near the “trunk” underneath perforated metal “leaves” that mingle daylight with light from color-changeable LEDs. The Learning Tree, also visible from the exterior of the building, can be illuminated to celebrate special events. A STEM lab is connected to the media center with glass overhead garage doors. In another direction, sliding glass panels open to a two-story learning riser that supports large group presentations. One of the most innovative architectural elements is the “Success Slide.” The winding slide, connecting the first and second floor, is where students celebrate achievements.

Each grade level has its own “community” clustered around a Collaboration Commons, outfitted with flexible furniture and technology. This space accommodates various learning approaches and group sizes. Each classroom has a “safety nook,” not visible from the main corridor, that is equipped with remote door locking hardware.”

Additional Information



Cost per Sq Ft



Special Citation

Featured in

2020 Architectural Portfolio

Product suppliers specified

Carpet by Patcraft
Flooring by Armstrong World Industries
Physical-Education Flooring by Dynamic Sports Flooring
Brick/Masonry by Palmetto Brick
Brick/Masonry by Shouldice
Ceilings by Armstrong World Industries
Ceramic Tile by Dal-Tile
Door Hardware by Allegion
Door Hardware by Ives
Door Hardware by NGP
Doors by Oshkosh Door
Doors by MPI Group
Elevators by ThyssenKrupp Access
Insulation by Owens Corning
Movable Partitions/Walls by Modernfold
Paint/Wallcoverings by Sherwin-Williams
Plumbing by Bradley Corporation
Roofing by Carlisle SynTec
Skylights by Solatube
Windows by Kawneer
Lighting & Accessories by Insight Lighting
Lighting & Accessories by Manning Lighting
Lighting & Accessories by Finelite
Lighting & Accessories by Columbia Lighting
Lighting & Accessories by Zumtobel Lighting
Lighting & Accessories by Altman
Emergency Lighting by Finelite
Emergency Lighting by Zumtobel Lighting
Fire/Life-Safety Systems by Siemens Building Technologies
Security Systems by LinEl
Locks by Best Access Systems
Card Systems by LinEl
Cafeteria Furniture by Palmer Hamilton
Classroom Furniture by Smith Systems
Library/Media Center Furniture by NoraNivel
Lounge Furniture by NoraNivel
Multipurpose Areas Furniture by NoraNivel
Office Furniture by Steelcase
Drinking Fountains by Elkay
Hand-Drying Equipment by Bradley Corporation
Washroom Accessories by American Specialties
Washroom Fixtures by American Standard
Washroom Fixtures by Sloan Valve
Washroom/Shower Partitions by Scranton Products
Athletic Equipment by Hufcor
Bleachers/Grandstands by Irwin Seating
Playground Equipment by Gametime
Scoreboards/Clocks by Nevco Scoreboard
Communications Systems by Siemens Building Technologies
Communications Systems by Valcom
Clocks/Time Management by Atlas
HVAC Units by Titus
HVAC Units by Daikin
HVAC Control Devices by Siemens Building Technologies
IAQ Devices by Siemens Building Technologies
ADA/Compliance Equipment by LCN Closers
Card Systems by LinEl
Kitchen Equipment by Metro
Kitchen Equipment by Rational
Kitchen Equipment by Hobart
Kitchen Equipment by Traulsen
Whiteboards / Markerboards / Chalkboards by Cig Jan
Wire Management by Panduit
Lighting & Accessories by Hubbell Lighting
Acoustics/Sound Systems by Gametime
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