Forest County Potawatomi Community Unveils New Community Center

October 11, 2021
Experiential Design Architecture Sports

RDG Planning & Design worked closely with tribal leaders to design a culturally significant hub for education, recreation, athletic training, wellness and community events.

The Forest County Potawatomi Community (FCPC) has unveiled a new, state-of-the-art community and recreation center in Crandon, Wisconsin. The new Potawatomi Community Center, which broke ground in May 2019 and was designed in partnership with RDG Planning & Design, serves as a hub for cultural education, recreation, athletic training, wellness and community events.

Located on the Tribe’s reservation in Crandon, Wisconsin, the Community Center incorporates various athletic venues for training and competition and offers dedicated space to host tribal events such as pow-wows and banquets. RDG’s team worked closely with tribal leaders to develop a design that is both culturally significant and programmatically appropriate, weaving natural imagery into the building’s interior and exterior elements. The exterior design draws inspiration from the form of an eagle, an animal that carries special importance within the Potawatomi community, while the interior replicates the surrounding woodland with structural forms & materiality.

“A big driver of the project was to create opportunities for fitness, wellness and recreation, but also for cultural learning and understanding,” said RDG Architect Blaine Perau, AIA. “In working side-by-side with tribal members and leadership, we were able to design a building that is informed by and respectful of the Forest County Potawatomi Community, and that reflects a commitment to environmentally-conscious practices.”  

A gymnasium with spectator seating for up to 1,500 spectators.

Encompassing 110,000 SF of new construction, the community center houses a 20,000-SF wood court gymnasium with seating for up to 1,500 spectators, a 20,000-SF synthetic turf fieldhouse with elevated jogging track and an 8,000-SF recreation and training pool. RDG’s design also incorporates multiple educational and support spaces, including a classroom, fabrication lab, woodshop, teaching kitchen, game room, pediatric therapy suite and a childcare suite. A two-story common area at the center of the building acts as a connecting touchstone between spaces and serves as a place for community gatherings and tribal events.

“This is an exciting project not only for Potawatomi, but for our whole community,” said FCPC Chairman Ned Daniels, Jr. “There is no other facility like this in the Northwoods, and I’m beyond happy to officially open it and welcome the entire community to experience the positive things it has to offer.”

Written by Erin Van Zee, Communications Director