- Hickman Mills School District
- Baptiste Educational Center, Burke Elementary School
The fourth recipient of Hollis + Miller’s annual Learnscape was the Hickman Mills School District’s Compass Program. Compass is a project-based STEAM learning program centered at the Baptiste Educational Center. The design is created to engage sight, smell, touch, movement, balance and sound, capturing students’ desire to explore and learn through play.
Organized around a spiraling walkway, the design engages five sensory zones. The first zone focuses on the visual arts and includes easels, markerboards and display walls for art shows. Continuing along the path, the second zone transitions to an area focused on sense of smell. Fragrant plantings host a variety of colors, native fruits and berries throughout the fall and winter. Down the path, a ten-foot water table provides an opportunity for tactile play, science experiments and the occasional boat race. Students can then enter zone four, featuring an abstract architectural representation of a boulder using varying inclined planes to challenge students with movement and balance. The sound of students learning about rhythm tone can be heard throughout, as drums made from repurposed rain barrels and recycled drum skins anchor sensory zone five. Culminating the path at the center of the spiraling design is an amphitheater which can accomodate larger group gatherings.