The Waukee Innovation & Learning Center (WILC) recently won two prominent industry awards for its innovative design and dedication to entrepreneurial education: the grand prize for the 2018 School Planning & Management Education Design Showcase, and a LESolutions Award from A4LE in the Small/Special Project Category.
WILC supports the Waukee Community School District’s Aspiring Professional Experience (APEX) program. The facility is the result of a multi-phased, highly interactive design and engagement process including students, staff, members of the Waukee community, as well as local business partners. The facility includes environments that range from smaller enclaves, to labs, to an open learning space, that can be adjusted or repurposed for the users’ needs. Students can utilize the spaces to work on projects, faculty can use various rooms for evaluations or meetings, local business can reserve workstations or hold conferences and events, and the community can utilize rooms for presentations or town halls.
Design features include large, light-filled public workspaces with an informal ambiance that encourage collaboration. Bright colors line the walls, and moveable furniture fills the floors. The glass on the first floor of WILC showcases the connection between the community and the school district. Student projects are on display, and local businesspeople and the community are invited to view work in progress. Exterior learning spaces also cater to environmental and outdoor projects that further connect students with the facility’s physical surrounding environment.
WILC and the APEX program have already seen success and has received praise from industry and business leaders, with Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, stating to the Des Moines Register: “ I consider it a model for the school of the future. But the great thing is, it’s happening today.”