Indian Community School® (ICS) is a private, faith-based school located in Franklin, Wisconsin, with an intertribal student population of over 350 students in K4-8th grades. The school is proud of its distinguished learning environments that cultivate an enduring cultural identity and critical thinking with indigenous teachings. ICS is focused on student engagement, high-quality teaching, strong leadership, utilization of resources, rigorous coursework and the academic success of all students. The school is located on a 178-acre campus including prairies, wetlands, ponds, forested areas, naturally landscaped grounds, a traditional teaching lodge, sweat lodges, boardwalk, wooden and earthen paths, sports/lacrosse fields and a school garden. It is a modern and unique building designed to honor American Indian culture and values. As a community partner, ICS is dedicated to building relationships with families, strengthening the community and connecting with the natural environment.
The school was designed by Antoine Predock, who made a series of visits to meet with former ICS students, board members, community members and tribal representatives. During these meetings, an understanding of the physical and spiritual place the school would occupy unfolded. A matrix of ideas, feedback and cultural influences were documented to inform and guide the architectural design process. Chris Cornelius, an enrolled member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, served as the cultural designer and co-architect on the project.
In constructing Indian Community School, the building was carefully nestled among a grove of ancient oak and shagbark hawthorn trees and surrounding prairie grass berms. Architectural elements of the structure reflect the natural world including a copper roof, large glass-enclosed gathering spaces, and centuries-old grandfather trees from the Menominee Nation. Natural wood, copper, stone and glass were used throughout the building to open and connect learning spaces to the natural environment.