Flynn Elementary School in Eau Claire was the first school in Wisconsin to be awarded LEED Silver certification in the category of existing buildings. Ayres designed the 54,000-square-foot school for the Eau Claire Area School District, and the District wanted to incorporate sustainable features into the project. The building design includes high ceilings and natural lighting for visual appeal and improved energy efficiency. By using daylight in instructional areas, the need for artificial lighting was minimized, and the size and expense of the air conditioning equipment was reduced.
The cafeteria and gymnasium are next to each other, separated by a wall that can be opened to allow the lunchroom to serve as a stage from which special performances can be presented to audiences seated in the gymnasium. The school’s main entrance lobby achieves school administrators’ and teachers’ desire to make the library (and by extension literacy) the focal point of the school. The 20-foot-high lobby, naturally lighted by high windows, provides visitors an immediate view of the library through a large bank of windows.