With a riot of bright primary colors and an under the sea motif throughout, The Goddard School in Sun Prairie is a cheerful place for kids to go to every day. Serving newborns up to six-year-olds, the childcare center opened in January 2022. Owner Salman Ahmad says the location was chosen specifically because Sun Prairie is the fastest-growing community in Wisconsin and is close to several small communities, which helps with staffing. Salman also owns a Goddard School location in Verona with his wife, Mawara Sohail.
Salman and Mawara brought on former Goddard parents Katie and Jeremy Neuman as on-site owners and partners of the Sun Prairie location. Salman says, “The most important factor with success of a preschool is having owners who are present at the school every day to support teachers and families. Katie and Jeremy are the on-site owners of the Sun Prairie location, and we serve in an advisory role.”
Having opened the Verona location in 2016, Salman and Mawara have seven and a half years of experience operating a Goddard franchise, so they knew what they wanted in the new location. The owners turned to Sketchworks Architecture and 1848 Construction to help them design and execute their vision.
Of course, much goes into planning a childcare center, explains Nick Badura, project manager with Sketchworks Architecture. “What’s interesting and a challenge on a project like this is … that there are many parties involved during the design process,” says Nick. “Working between federal and state building codes, state daycare codes, owner and corporate input, the city design committee, and our architectural opinions, we needed to be able to adopt a plan that meets the expectations of everyone.”
Because it’s a franchise, there are specifications each Goddard location must follow, but they are free to make modifications based on needs as well. For example, safety standards, such as exterior fencing, playground surface, bollards in front of the building, and security measures, are universal at each location. But Salman says they knew what tweaks they wanted to make in the new facility based off of their Verona location. “The floorplan of the [Sun Prairie location] is more open and welcoming. All of the support functions (offices, conference room, breakroom, reception, storage, laundry, and kitchen) are in the middle [of the building], while classrooms are on each side. One side is the infant/toddler wing, and the other is the preschool/pre-K wing.”
1848 Construction worked with The Goddard School on both of their locations and brought their expertise into the project. Sam Blahnik, vice president, business development at 1848 Construction, says working on the state-of-the-art facility involved following detailed specifications to maintain franchise and branding standards, as well as safety requirements.
Although having a safe, up-to-code, brand-new building is at the heart of the new location, it’s pretty darn attractive too—which is what staff and families see every day. Primary colors (blue, red, yellow) along with artsy touches provide a lively backdrop to the childcare facility. Salman says, “We hired a professional muralist to hand-paint murals for each classroom and common areas. A lot of creativity and hard work went into this design.”
The 12,000-square-foot facility has been bustling with activity since day one, and the childcare center can accommodate 152 children and 25 staff members. Sun Prairie has a huge demand for affordable daycare. Salman says, “Staff and parent reactions have been great. The response from the Sun Prairie community has been positive.”
Sketchworks Architecture is a local architectural and interior design firm specializing in living, working, and entertaining environments. Our award-winning portfolio spans corporate, hospitality + retail, multifamily, government, and brewery + distillery projects.
2501 Parmenter Street
Middleton, WI 53562