The new Osage Nation childcare facility — located on the Wahzhazhe Early Learning Academy (WELA) campus in Pawhuksa, OK — is designed to improve the day-to-day lives of Osage educators, students, and families in the Pawhuska area. The facility will be 18,752 square feet, which includes eight classrooms, outdoor creative spaces, a full-service kitchen, two indoor gross motor skills classrooms, a teacher training room, and office space for WELA administration and staff. The childcare facility will sit prominently on the campus landscape so we and our partners at WELA have collaborated closely to ensure it fits comfortably in the larger campus while still maintaining a playful and serene environment for the children.
The design of this facility was conceptualized around the tie between the Osage People and the natural environment. The building’s exterior utilizes forms and color from the Cross Timbers, an environment found throughout the Nation. Scrub oak trunks and branches inspire elements of the columns which lift the canopies of the outdoor classrooms while the colors speak to the natural greens found in the forest. The brick colors and horizontal banding call to mind the plains that break against the Cross Timbers — a muted brown and a light tan to showcase the dynamic play between charred earth and winter grasses commonly found after the life-giving rebirth of the grassfire.
This project is currently under construction.