TBT: The Past and Future Johnson Creek School

Rendering of Johnson Creek Elementary.

Rendering of the new Johnson Creek Elementary school campus with the upper school cafetorium in the background.


Gym/cafeteria ring foundation.

The ring foundation for the multi-purpose gymnasium and cafeteria.

South Industries

Today’s Throwback Thursday is a bit different as we look to the past and the future in Johnson Creek, Wisconsin. In 2016 the Johnson Creek School District opened a five-dome school to serve as the combined middle and high school. The small district of 750 students was dealing with old school buildings plus a hodgepodge of additions and portable classrooms. The maintenance costs were increasing and they needed something new. They tried several times to pass a bond to build a conventional school, but each time the voters rejected it. So they sought for a more innovative, affordable solution and found the Monolithic Dome.

They eventually passed a bond to build a five-dome school for the 500 students of the middle and high schools. The district estimated they saved $8 million over previous proposals and ended up with a first-class facility. They built the school on new land to south and west of Johnson Creek. They left space to add an elementary school in the future. Today, the elementary school is under construction.

In April, the school district passed a $15 million referendum to construct the elementary school. Superintendent Michael Garvey said, “The history of referenda in Johnson Creek has always been a challenge. To win this one on the first attempt is actually quite remarkable.”

The district didn’t waste time. By June ground was broken and construction began of three Monolithic Domes which will seamlessly integrate with the existing school to become a complete pre-kindergarten to grade 12 (K12) campus.

“I am excited to see the district’s vision of a single campus for their district become a reality,” said architect Von Petersen of TSP. “Their approach is unique, but it is the right approach, and the one that was needed to make campus come to life. It has been great working with the same team as the previous domes and allowed us to pick up where we left off to take some of the small lessons learned of designing a unique structural and be able to bring a facility to the village of Johnson Creek that should serve them for many years to come.”

Companies returning to finish the soon-to-be eight dome campus include TSP, architect; South Industries, dome construction; Maas Brothers Construction, construction management; ZZ Consulting, dome engineering; Rketek, consulting architect.

As they continue to build the new facility, we have an opportunity to look back at the first Monolithic Dome school built in Wisconsin—the Johnson Creek High School and Middle School. Linked below are stories, media updates, and a feature story with fantastic pictures by Tatiana Crandall.

Aerial view of construction.

Aerial view of the five middle and high school domes. The new elementary domes will line up on the right with a 140-foot diameter classroom dome, the 160-foot diameter gym/cafeteria dome foundation, and another 160-foot diameter classroom and elementary administration dome.

South Industries