Willow Oak Montessori was re-established in 2007, offering two pre-K classrooms of relatively equal size. Since this time, the school has been a tremendous success and the goal of growing into a lower elementary school has become realistic. To this end, Hobbs Architects, PA was commissioned to collaborate with the school and produce a master plan for a preferred site in Chatham County. Programming information was obtained through numerous meeting with the school administration.
The project is schematically planned as a phased development that will grow organically as the school enrollment increases. The 15-acre site contains both vegetated and open areas on a gently sloping site, with a pond located at the lower end of the site that will be utilized as an outdoor classroom for exploration. Furthermore, a natural outdoor play area will be developed where there is a large outcropping of rocks, and playgrounds and ball fields will be constructed.
The individual buildings will be one story structures made of natural materials and will be designed to meet the age appropriate needs of young children. The long axis of all structures will have a southern exposure, allowing for ample day-lighting opportunities and passive solar heating. Furthermore, the buildings will be clustered around a central courtyard space that can be used as a community garden and outdoor teaching area.
Location: Chatham County, North Carolina