Walnut Grove Elementary

Bargersville, Indiana


Center Grove Community Schools


12,500 sq.ft.

Total Cost


Completion Date


The new Walnut Grove Elementary School features dynamic learning spaces full of the latest teaching technologies, all while being easy on the taxpayer’s pocketbook. The flexible and innovative design uses a bright color scheme and warm materials, in addition to highlighting energy-saving sustainability strategies.

Walnut Grove’s design evokes its namesake, the walnut tree. Finishes are derived from this central theme, as well as other elements unique to the state of Indiana. Perhaps the most noteworthy illustration of this is the welcoming two-story entry canopy with a wood-patterned sloped ceiling resembling a grove of walnut trees.

The building is laid out in a “serrated L” shape with simple wayfinding and orientation from the main entry. All common and special spaces are grouped at the crossroads of the two classroom corridors. This arrangement maximizes security and visibility from the administration offices, and minimizes travel distances for classes going to and from various common areas.

The media center sits at the hub of the school in a bright two-story space with an open and flexible plan that naturally connects to multiple other spaces. The focal point of the media center is the “Learning Tree,” which is both structural support for the roof and a beckoning reading nook. Students can gather on turf-covered risers near the “trunk” and underneath a canopy of perforated metal “leaves” that mingles streams of daylight with light from color-changeable LEDs.

In one direction from the media center, a STEM Lab with two glass overhead garage doors connects the spaces. In another direction, operable sliding glass panels open to a two-story learning riser, complete with a large screen TV and sound amplification, which can support presentations to 125 students. Just beyond are music, art, the cafeteria, which sports a flexible stage space, and the gymnasium. Immediately beyond the learning riser is one of the school’s most innovative design elements: the Success Slide. The bright and winding slide, connecting the first and second floor, is where students celebrate academic achievements and important milestones.

Each grade level has its own “community” clustered around a flexible Collaboration Commons equipped with flexible furniture and built-in technology. These collaboration spaces enable various learning approaches and group sizes. Sliding glass panel doors connect classroom spaces to the Collaboration Commons. The fluid nature of this arrangement creates “brain breaks” that elevate student focus and have been shown to reduce trips to the school nurse. The flexibility and visibility within each classroom are carefully balanced with safety needs by employing “safety nooks” that are out of sight of the corridor and which use remotely activated door locking hardware. Other support spaces near the Collaboration Commons include restrooms, teacher workrooms, and storage.

Additional Information

Cost per Sq Ft



Crow Island School Citation

Featured in

2020 Educational Interiors Showcase

Interior category

Common Areas

Product suppliers specified

Flooring by Armstrong World Industries
Carpet by Patcraft
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
Card Systems by LinEl
Locks by Best Access Systems
Cafeteria Furniture by Palmer Hamilton
Classroom Furniture by Smith Systems
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
HVAC Control Devices by Siemens Building Technologies
IAQ Devices by Siemens Building Technologies
ADA/Compliance Equipment by LCN Closers
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
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