District 1 Community Center
River Falls, WI | Government + Cultural
The District 1 Community Center provides space for the Ho-Chunk Nation to hold community gatherings and wellness activities.
The Ho-Chunk Nation had outgrown its community center and wanted to build a new space that served each age group and promoted wellness.
Flexibility and efficiency were top priorities when the Ho-Chunk Native American tribe decided to build a new community center. Moving past the previous community center, which lacked space and cost-effective maintenance, Ho-Chunk Nation requested ISG’s services to design a building that would serve four different community groups: student youth and adults, athletes, and general community members.
Before the new 60,000 sq. ft. building’s design, public events and activities would often conflict with youth activity schedules due to limited space. To accurately understand the vision, needs, and culture of the Ho-Chunk Nation, ISG maintained constant collaboration with stakeholders throughout planning schematic and construction designs. Updated information and alternative solutions were checked with community leaders to craft plans that accurately reflected Ho-Chunk Nation. A unique need of this project was that each construction phase needed to remain open-ended before the subsequent phase began. To meet this challenge, user group meetings with people who own, use, and maintain the proposed community center, e.g. maintenance staff, security personnel, teachers, and community youth, were integrated into the planning and design process. This line of open communication ensures design plans fulfill community goals and needs and identify the best practices and cost-effective options early on.
To host different groups simultaneously, youth education classrooms and office spaces were separated from areas of the facility primarily dedicated to community activities such as funerals, sewing classes, and meetings. These areas each have their own commercial grade kitchens, allowing them to entertain large groups of people without coinciding with one another. Separating the groups provides the additional benefit of increased student safety. The community center also includes two gymnasiums, one with a locker room for tournaments and the other for team practices, to maximize the number of athletes who want to utilize the center. A wellness center with a running track, stationary equipment, and studio space complements the gymnasiums, offering places for athletic programs for adults and youth alike. The new building’s maintenance was also cost-effective, designed to feature a horizontal geothermal field and in-floor heating.