Project File: Solving ecological problems

May 1, 2002
Conserve School, Land O'Lakes, Wis.

Scheduled to open this fall, Conserve School is a non-sectarian, independent, co-educational boarding school for students in grades 9 through 12. Located in Land O' Lakes, Wis., the school places special emphasis on wildlife, natural habitats and ecology. Using a combination of science, math, technology tools and communication skills, students work to solve real ecological problems in the community.

The goal of the $40 million project was to build an environmentally friendly campus while making a minimal impact on the surrounding ecosystem. Buildings and classrooms were positioned to allow for maximum daylight penetration. Existing soils were removed during construction, and tree wells and retaining walls were built from excavated boulders. Exterior siding boards were harvested from local pine forests and rough-sawn into varying sizes to reduce waste.

The school is situated on 1,200 acres between Little Donahue Lake and Big Donahue Lake. It borders Michigan's Upper Peninsula, as well as Ottawa National Forest. School facilities will occupy about 100 acres of the site, leaving the remainder of the land in its natural state. Facilities will include residence halls, classrooms, laboratories, a library, an auditorium, a dining hall, administrative offices, a student center and physical-activity center, as well as outdoor recreation facilities.

The project was handled by Team Interplan, which consists of Interplan Practice, Ltd. (Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.), Blomquist & Associates Architects (Iron Mountain, Mich.) and Oscar J. Boldt Construction Company (Appleton, Wis.).

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