Charter School of the Dunes-Gary, Indiana

The Charter School of the Dunes finds itself at an exciting juncture due to steadily increasing enrollment numbers and the pressing need for expansion. A new preK-2 school is a continuation of the school's unwavering commitment “to creating a culture of life-long learning and collaboration in which all students meet or exceed high academic standards.”

In partnership with Performance Services, Inc., Wightman is providing architectural services for the new Early Learning Center. The primary objective of this new facility is to cater specifically to younger learners, offering them developmentally and size-appropriate learning environments. These spaces are designed to encourage project-based learning and to create an environment where children can explore, engage in active play, and ignite their curiosity.

At the heart of the learning spaces is a central and dynamic hub known as "The Sandbox." This interactive makerspace is a vibrant focal point, designed to stimulate the imagination and creativity of the school's youngest students. It's a high-volume space with operable walls that serve a dual purpose, transforming into a gymnasium and cafeteria in lieu of a traditional library. This innovative design approach allows for flexibility in space utilization, ensuring that the facility can adapt to various needs. This decision reflects a commitment to nurturing the students' curiosity and creativity, providing them with the tools, resources, and environment to explore and learn in a way that best suits their developmental needs.

This new Early Learning Center is focused on creating an environment where the values of learning, collaboration, and creativity are celebrated, and where young students have the room to grow and thrive. It's a testament to The Charter School of the Dunes' dedication to their students and their vision of a vibrant and enriching educational experience.

To see the project take shape, view this time lapse video of the site

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