Ellsworth, WI recently held the grand opening of its new $26 million elementary school dedicated to the education of more than 600 pre-K through 5th graders. One of the state’s largest school districts, the new facility was specifically designed over a five-year period to meet the needs of students formerly attending three outdated grade schools located throughout the region.


Once known as a rural, agriculture community, Ellsworth has rapidly begun the transformation to a more urban, commuter community given its easy access the Twin Cities located only 30 miles away. Today, nearly 60 percent of the workforce travels outside of the district for jobs.


“Ellsworth’s demographics are definitely trending upwards as it increasingly becomes a destination site for young, affluent couples looking for a nice, quiet spot to reside after a hard day working in the nearby cities,” says Jodi Nelson, Project Architect at Ayres Associates in River Falls, WI. “Unfortunately, many of the local schools were built in the 1960s and pretty much beyond repair.


“Realizing the need to upgrade our local schools to attract a greater influx of educated homeowners, we set out build a facility dedicated to 21st century learning in a collaborative setting. This included flexible, adaptable environments and bright, open spaces filled with large common educational spaces. Site circulation was also fundamental to the design, which features a variety of group and individual teaching configurations.”


The 113,000 sq. ft., two-story elementary school is based on a collaborative teaching model with shared-used spaces located at the core of the building, including a central common area. Its modern design features red and cream-colored brick and large expanses of glass curtainwall on the exterior and an interior combining neutral-colored flooring and walls with pops of color in bold blues, greenish-yellows and magenta. Amenities include state-of-the-art building technologies as well as a spacious cafeteria, open media center, full-size gym with bleachers, and more than 960 gray student cubbies from Scranton Products.


Positioned at the entrance of each classroom wing, the HDPE cubbies were custom-designed by the company to individually store the books and belongings of each student, including wet winter boots and snow gear. Given the high-impact requirements of the application, the HDPE cubbies were the ideal choice due to their non-porous surface, which is naturally resistant to odors, mold, mildew and even germs and bacteria. Very easy to clean, graffiti wipes off easily with most non-abrasive cleaners and can be power washed and steam cleaned without the worry of rust. Another benefit is their ability withstand to resist dents in an atmosphere filled with 5- to 10-year-old students.


“We wanted open cubbies that were easy to clean, monitor, and air out,” explains Nelson. “We also didn’t want the noise, dings, and rust associated with metal lockers. Scranton Products worked with us to design cubbies that resist scratches, graffiti, and water damage for years. This was imperative since every student, no matter age, has their own cubby.”


"Scranton Products provided a no-maintenance, clean-looking locker solution,” adds John Groh, Ellsworth Elementary school’s principal. ‘We were especially impressed with the strong quality and functionality of all of the cubbies, which we expect to last for a very long time in extremely demanding circumstances.”


To learn more about Scranton Products’ HDPE partitions, lockers and cubbies please visit http://www.scrantonproducts.com or call 800-445-5148.